Sunday, October 7, 2012

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight is someone who's coming out made the news and the sporting news this week.  A former amateur, Olympic and now professional, he made history by becoming the first openly gay man  in the sport's history to come out while still boxing. Today's Out Spotlight is Orlando Cruz.

Orlando Cruz was born July 1, 1981 in  Puerto Rico. He   began boxing at the age of  seven and was 178-11 as an amateur, during which time he was a seven-time Puerto Rican national champion and 2000 Olympian, when he was a teammate of future world champions Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon.

Cruz (18-2-1, 9 KOs)  made his professional debut on December 15, 2000 against Alfredo Valdéz in Puerto Rico. He did not lose until 2009, when he lost against Cornelius Lock by TKO. Cruz is currently ranked at #4 in the world in the featherweight division by the World Boxing Organization (WBO).

Last week Cruz described himself as "a proud gay man" as he went public with his sexuality for the first time.

"I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself," the 31-year-old announced in a press release. "I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man."

He admitted to an Associated Press reporter that it was “a relief” to make his announcement.

“I developed physically and mentally to take such a big step in my life and in my profession, which is boxing, knowing that it would have pros and cons, highs and lows in this sport that is so macho,” Cruz said. “I kept this hidden for many, many years.

“I don’t want to hide any of my identities. I want people to look at me for the human being that I am. I am a professional sportsman that always brings his best to the ring. I want for people to continue to see me for my boxing skills, my character, my sportsmanship, but I also want kids who suffer from bullying to know that you can be whoever you want to be in life, including a professional boxer; that anything is possible and that who you are or whom you love should not be an impediment to achieving anything in life.”

Cruz admitted to having reservations about the announcement, one he struggled with for some time before going public. He met with psychologists, family and friends before taking this step, but the reaction has been largely positive across social media, with many praising him for taking what they called a brave step. Among those who expressed support was fellow Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin, who announced he was gay in 2010.

Cruz's announcement was hailed by gay rights advocates and groups, who said the fighter's decision to come out as a gay man could encourage more men in the boxing world, and beyond, to do the same. "It is absolutely fantastic that Orlando has taken the step to become the first openly gay boxer," said Richard Lane, a spokesman for Stonewall. "It is vital that there are positive role models in sport for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. This can only be a good step forward for fans of boxing and other sports."

Aris Pina, a boxing historian, said Cruz's revelation would also have a positive impact on the Latino community. "It takes a lot of courage to announce you're a proud openly gay Puerto Rican man, especially within the Latin community where men are very masculine, and within the homophobic world of boxing."


Jersey Tom said...

Great Spotlight SK.. This is really huge news. Boxing is such a macho sport. Orlando's comimg out says a lot for this mans courage and committment. I wish him the best.

I cant wait till a highly regarded American professional athlete takes the plunge.

prairiegirl said...

Great story. Yeah, talk about a brutal sport. Great for him - I enjoyed reading what he had to say.

Well, my days in Califor-NI-A are winding down. **sniff** This morning I was served most expertly and elegantly eggs benedict , which I had never had but had always been certain I didn't like. lol. But M&M did a fantastic job. And the fruit was incredible. I tell you what, one of the most fun memories I'll take back with me just as much as hearing the seals from our room at the Inn on Friday morning, was seeing farm after farm on our drive from Santa Cruz to Monterey. I live in Kansas and even in Kansas anymore, I don't know that you see this many farms. And we saw olive trees and I don't know how many different kinds of produce. So many workers in the fields! I've never seen such back-breaking looking work. Can you imagine? Bending over constantly all day long, picking little strawberries or broccoli or whatever. That is a back breaker.

Beautiful trees. Beautiful ocean. Seagulls. Loud waves. Perfect temperatures. I can see why Austin loves the ocean. Although I can't imagine swimming in the ocean. That's pretty scary - it looks so massive and deep.

I'm afraid the Giants aren't doing too well tonight. But Timmy Linoleum did pitch well. That is the most important thing. **winky winky smile**

prairiegirl said...

And the other incredible thing is that the produce here is much cheaper than it is at home! We stopped at a stand and everything was about 1/2 the price of what it was at home. Unbelievable. Fruit is so expensive at home, it's getting to be practically a delicacy.

The Monterey Aquarium was fantastic. We saw seahorses, jellyfish, a hammerhead shark, all kinds of colorful fish, penguins, etc. The sea otters were not there; they were all gone while the Aquarium worked on their exhibit. It's a very nice Aquarium though. Top notch.

That's the end of our tour today.

Jersey Tom said...

Happy Thanksgiving to our friends in Canada. Especially my bud Seaweed.

destiny said...

It really is brave for Orlando to come out.

Happy Thanksgiving to Seaweed and any other Canadians at OMG.

prairiegirl said...

I'm not sure that where Seaweed is though observes Canadian Thanksgiving today? I was just reading on Wiki that there are 4 provinces which are exceptions and his is one of them. Seaweed, M&M wants to know why you guys are such renegades? lol

Seaweed, please help clarify this controversy. ; )

prairiegirl said...

But nonetheless, Happy Thanksgiving to any OMG visitor from the north!

Yesterday M&M showed me a video of the life of Bobby Darin. You know, I knew his name and I knew he died from a heart ailment. But that was it. I couldn't have told you what songs he was known for, didn't know his life story.

What a great performer he was. Beyond the Sea. Splish Splash!, Mack the Knife were just some of his hits, all of which were familiar to my ears. He was a songwriter. Great harmonica player. Soooo light on his feet. Charismatic. Great voice. And he was also an actor.

Tragic that he died at the age of 37 from an ailment that maybe today, he could have been a candidate for a heart transplant or something which would have extended his lifespan. Fascinating story. What a great talent.

A very interesting part of his story. He was misled his entire life by his own family. The lady who he had been brought up to believe was his sister, was actually his real mother. The woman who he thought was his mother was actually his grandmother. He was devastated when he found out this news because he was known to be a very honest person, valuing this trait highly. And when he found out as an adult that his own family had lied to him, they said he was never the same after that. That the news had actually broken his heart.

Plus, his mother would never tell him who his father was. He died never knowing who his father was. Can you imagine this? Just terribly tragic.

Great, great story. I'm so glad M&M wanted to share this. And the film clips in the dvd were filled with his contact with such legendary names in the business; Jimmy Durante, Andy Williams, Dick Clark, Robert Goulet, Sammy Davis Jr, on & on. And you realize that those kinds of entertainers will never pass this way again.

Today, it's all about who can be the most outrageous. Who can be trended on Twitter. Who can be downloaded the most during the first week on I-Tunes or whatever. Who can be the most controversial. And you could tell just by watching Bobby Darin sing, that he loved to sing. He just loved to perform and sing anything he could get his hands on. It was a real joy to watch and learn.

Seaweed said...

Orlando Cruz is one brave and accomplished competitor! Thanks for this Spotlight, and for sharing the inspiring story of this proud Puerto Rican gay man Special.

I was really happy to read about your trip to visit with M&M in California PG... what a great opportunity for you two to get in a great visit and have some interesting times together. I'm jealous and would like to do something like this myself.

Many thanks to my friends Tom, Destiny, PG, and the others for their good wishes on this Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada. You guys will be celebrating yours in a few weeks time and will begin that gradual buildup to Christmas and the New Year. PG, you and M&M will need to clarify your observations from Wiki on our Thanksgiving. As far as I know all Canadian Provinces and Territories observe the second Monday in October as our Thanksgiving. It's a long weekend for everyone. I'm not sure where the confusion comes in... and will be happy to be considered a renegade none the less. :o)

Enjoyed a nice big turkey dinner yesterday with a lot of family and ate wayyyyyy too much. Great selection of pies with plenty of leftovers for sandwiches today. A good long walk will be in order this afternoon to try and wear some of it off.

Good wishes to everyone at OMG as always.


prairiegirl said...

Hey Seaweed! Don't bring M&M into this, she will protest at being associated with incorrect facts. LOLLLL!!! No seriously, I was looking up Thanksgiving on Wiki and it said that Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and two other areas didn't observe. Bad Wiki!!! Anyway, never mind! Glad to hear you are stuffing yourself. lol

Speaking of stuffing, as a big SALUTE to Austin, M&M and I are getting ready to go have lunch. At In 'n Out Burger. I'm going to go find out the greatness that is the In 'n Out. And then in a day of cholesterol consumption, I plan to talk M&M into fish n chips at this place called Tugboat something or other because I haven't had fish n chips yet. And this place is so cute and has such a cute name. I missed it last time and I'm dying to see this little place. It looks like a tugboat. lol. I must see it before I go this time!!!

destiny said...

You're killing me with all your descriptions of California PG. It's a cold and gloomy day here in NYC.

I've always liked Bobby Darin, but I knew nothing about his life. I've heard a lot of stories like that about sister's really being mothers, and the mother is really your grandmother, so sad, kids in those situations were victims of the times they grew up in.

prairiegirl said...

I loved learning about Bobby Darin, Destiny. And you exposed me to Neil Young. You know, I never listened to Neil Young but I paid more attention to him after you had mentioned you loved him. So I now have several songs of his downloaded from ITunes like Old Man and Harvest Moon. I love both of those songs.

Beyond the Sea and Mack the Knife are great ones. But I also listened to him sing Bridge Over Troubled Water and Higher and Higher. Awesome renditions.

In n Out was very good. Excellent presentation, fresh ingredients, friendly staff and very, very clean atmosphere. As we had finished, I was looking at my French Fry wrapper and noticed Rev 3:20 in very small writing at the bottom of the wrapper. Several Google Searches later, we learned that In n Out is a Christian-owned and operated business, has been since 1948.

I had to try and calm M&M down as I hastily tried to make sure they were not like Chick Fil A and it does appear that the ownership tries to refrain from stating their stance on same sex marriage. I couldn't find anything, anyway.

lol. Our visit almost ended in an abrupt exit. LOLLL! That would have been disheartening. But isn't that interesting to know, anyway? It was a nice Bible verse that was on the fry wrapper, anyway.

Two other shoutout businesses we have come across: Pinkberry and Peets Coffee. lol But no, they did not get our money.

Special K said...

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone up north celebrating!!

Methodical Muser said...

I better chime in before PG has me invading Canada because of a Wiki mention, punching out Bruce Bochy for not putting Timmy into the starting rotation or arrested for picketing a neighborhood In N' Out Burger for their use of Scripture on their French Fry container.

I agree wholeheartedly, however, that we are having a great time here in beautiful California and, Seaweed, you're invited any time to visit, along with other OMGers, for a West Coast Bash.

Regarding our musical respite for the weekend, it is true I love Bobby Darin, and thought he was the best performer I have ever seen live, while PG learned how many of the most successful talents and celebrities of the 20th century, shared the same sentiment as well. From Gregory Peck, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joanne Woodward to Neil Young, Roger Miller and Rod Stewart. What a remarkable talent he was. No auto-tune or fake twitter accounts/posts required.

Regarding my Timmy, all I can say is that he may have been snubbed by his exclusion from the playoff starting rotation, but when Bochy brought him in after Baumgarner was knocked out in the sixth, Mr. Rock n' Roll only warmed up in the bullpen with 4 tosses, before he came into the game and hit 91 mph on the radar gun, threw 17 of his 25 pitches for strikes and allowed only one hit through two innings. It really was the only electrifying moment for the Giants in the whole two games they have played thus far.

I think I better play it safe and monitor the blog until PG leaves. Who knows what her next M&M tabloid "reveal" might be. :-)

Seaweed said...

I found the errant comment in the Wiki entry for Thanksgiving that PG must be referring to. In part it mentions...

"Thanksgiving is a statuatory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada, with the Atlantic provinces of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia being the exceptions."

To clarify, the Thanksgiving Holiday is observed in ALL of Canada but the exception referred to has to to with which Provinces recognize the holiday as a PAID holiday. Some provinces have more Statuatory holidays than others.

Labour laws generally are under the purview of the Provincial Governments and each decides on how many of the normal holidays they choose to recognize as paid holidays for employees.

I hope that clarifies things for PG and any others who might be wondering what we were going on about.

M&M, I'm sure you and PG had a great visit and it was fun to hear about your travels and activities. Happy that you've had another opportunity to hang together for a bit.

Jersey Tom said...

I think Jake is straight.

Jersey Tom said...

I also think the Pope is a Sciencetologist.

prairiegirl said...

Ahhh, thank you, Seaweed!! I must have missed the part about "paid". Well, that's cool! Love when we have these educational moments.

And Tugboat ROCKS!!! Tugboat Fish n Chips was a rousing success. Excellent fish. Excellent chips. Great cole slaw. And I had "prawn" for the first time. Very good as well!! They were really like shrimp.

destiny said...

I never knew that In n Out is a Christian-owned business. As far as I know they've never been involved in social issues.