News | Sports

Boxer Orlando Cruz Comes Out, Making Him First Openly Gay Man In The Ring

OrlandoCruzOver two decades since he began boxing, Puerto Rican featherweight fighter Orlando Cruz came out this week, making him the first openly gay, still-competing boxer in the sport's history.(Former fighter Emile Griffith came out as bisexual after he retired.)

"I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself," 31-year old Cruz, who began fighting at the age of 7, according to USA Today.

"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."

Cruz, currently ranked 4th in his division, got his big shot in the ring during the 2000 Olympics, when he represented Puerto Rico in Sydney. The Pugilist offers more details on his career trajectory:

Cruz has been boxing since he was seven and boasted an amateur record of 178-11, taking in seven national titles in his homeland and seven international gold medals.

He turned pro shortly after the Sydney Games and won his first professional fight on December 15 2000 against Alfredo Valdez.

His highest profile bouts came with the end of his unbeaten record with back-to-back defeats against Cornelius Lock and Daniel Ponce De Leon in 2009 and 2010, the former battle taking place on the undercard of Mayweather-Marquez.

Cruz's next fight is on October 19th, when he'll defend his WBO NABO against Jorge Pazos. Before that, though, he'll be sitting down for a television interview to discuss his coming out.

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  1. "...the culture of effeminacy will not be long for this world."

    Yes, and wouldn't it be wonderful if Orlando Cruz said he loves to go in drag when not in the ring. Anything is possible in this great big diverse Gay world.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 4, 2012 11:29:09 AM

  2. "Yes, and wouldn't it be wonderful if Orlando Cruz said he loves to go in drag when not in the ring."

    But he won't, Derrick. He has a MALE identity. Learn from him......

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 4, 2012 11:36:05 AM

  3. There are some really weird comments on this article...
    How about just, congratulations dude that takes courage. And good luck.

    Posted by: Lucas H | Oct 4, 2012 11:41:22 AM

  4. Bravo, Orlando. This is a man kids and adults can look up to. It takes amazing courage to do this, especially in any sport, let alone boxing.

    Posted by: I wont grow up | Oct 4, 2012 11:51:04 AM

  5. News flash everyone: Ratbastard is white! I never could have gleaned that from his normal racist commentary

    Posted by: ChristopherM | Oct 4, 2012 11:51:22 AM

  6. well done, vanguard! another brother standing up to be counted!

    strength in numbers, yo!

    and folks, thanks for the backup, but ignore UFFDA. the type of troll who pounds his keyboard hatefully with one hand while furiously masturbating with the other.
    but there i am, sugar ;-)

    it's the hallmark of the hater - they can only say it from a place of complete anonymity. their impact is null.

    so, rock on you sexy boxin' thang!

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 4, 2012 11:57:28 AM

  7. Pity the smuck who calls him a homophobic slur. Way to go Orlando! It is nice to see gay men as role models in all aspects of life. Just need more to come out.

    Posted by: RK | Oct 4, 2012 12:09:45 PM

  8. It will come as a massive disappointment to the closet-case trolls, but men like Cruz won't give a flying f**k about some nonsense projected "culture of effeminacy" - why? because that's something that exists only in the minds of grown-adults who've spent so long being in the closet that they've driven themselves batty.

    no Out and proud openly gay men say that s**t or even believe in a....uh..."culture of effeminacy" - that's solely the calling card of the resentful cowardly homosexual male who still lives each day looking over his shoulder worrying what the straights are saying about them. they're saying you're gay. time to stop being upset about it. ;-)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 4, 2012 12:10:59 PM

  9. Congrats Mr. Cruz!!

    BTW: Are Jason and Rick the same person?

    Posted by: Lee | Oct 4, 2012 12:13:30 PM

  10. "BTW: Are Jason and Rick the same person?"


    Posted by: endo | Oct 4, 2012 12:18:39 PM

  11. Some really odd comments here about feminine vs. masculine, but I guess that's typical. A man just came out in a fairly high profile sport, and he is young and proud about his identity. If we praise him because he is "masculine" or because he provides a masculine role model, then we are simply falling back into a paradigm that leads to exclusion, segregation, and discrimination. What message do you think your comments send to the boy who hasn't figured out how to live up to your subjective "masculine" ideal? Those who are our heterosexual allies do not stand by us simply because of some male-male kinship--they stand by us because they recognize our common humanity, regardless of how we act or talk. Conversely, those who hate or fear us could care less that whether we act "like real men." To them, Rick (and maybe Jason), we're all just f*ggots.

    Posted by: Stefan | Oct 4, 2012 12:24:49 PM

  12. And Stefan, they're comments from people living closeted existences. that's the projected anger - the "type" of gay men those cowards denigrate are leading out and open lives - and that's a terrible emasculation to the self-professed (yet anonymous) 'masculine gay men' who don't have the orbs to live with the same fearlessness.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 4, 2012 12:33:28 PM

  13. @Littlekiwi--Just watched your interview link. Nice presentation. The few times I've watched Canadian television (we get it here in Michigan) I feel like I've only seen very civilized discussion of issues--even those that are "hot button topics" here in the U.S. I never see a Tony Perkins type, for example. Are my anecdotal experiences pretty consistent across the board?

    Posted by: Stefan | Oct 4, 2012 12:49:44 PM

  14. when it comes to official news programming - yes. we dont' have a "fox news" up here. we have a set standard of what is allowed to be broadcast as "news" and it pretty much means you gotta keep it to, you know, NEWS.

    there's been a push for a "fox news North" type of deal, but it's been met with complete derision up in canadialand. we've seen what happens when unfounded opinions get to be passed off as "news" and we're not too keen on it. and thanks!

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 4, 2012 12:59:30 PM

  15. "What message do you think your comments send to the boy who hasn't figured out how to live up to your subjective "masculine" ideal?"

    The message it sends him is that he just needs to make more of an effort to rid himself of the bad influences that have tried to convince him that his sexuality makes him something less than a man and that he therefore needs to behave in a less than masculine way.

    That he needs to find role models like Orlando who can help him to re-claim the natural masculinity that others have tried to deprive him of, whether the homophobic society at-large of the "gender-non-conformists" who go hand-in-hand, and have tried to force him to accept the idea that Gay=Feminine rather than Gay=Masculine

    That there is nothing separating him and Orlando Cruz or any other masculine gay man but will power and self-respect, both of which are entirely within his own grasp.

    And that if he fails to re-claim his masculinity, he will have a miserable life at the margins of society, whereas if he does do so, the sky is the limit for him......and that it is entirely his choice.

    Finally, that there are those of us who are eager to help him and support him in his journey.

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 4, 2012 1:28:47 PM

  16. "Those who are our heterosexual allies do not stand by us simply because of some male-male kinship--they stand by us because they recognize our common humanity, regardless of how we act or talk"

    No, I am convinced that "straight" men have their own reasons for wanting to eradicate homophobia from the male culture, namely that it will free them from their eternal social, emotional, and sexual dependence on women that has made THEIR lives so miserable, forcing them into seeking "soulmates" in the wrong place (with women) rather than in the right place (with other men).

    This burgeoning change, however, is not and will not be accompanied by a loosening of the standards of masculinity (except the one that equates masculinity with exclusive heterosexuality).

    And it is the convergence of these two strands of change--gay men re-claiming their masculinity and straight men discarding their homophobia that will result in an entirely new male culture that will re-define the whole paradigm you referred to.

    And that is an exciting thing to look forward to and be a part of, indeed.

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 4, 2012 1:33:00 PM

  17. "Are Jason and Rick the same person?"

    No, we are not.

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 4, 2012 1:34:18 PM

  18. Don't you love it when Rick/Jason posts a really long response filled with homophobia, misogyny, femmaphobia, and racism? He's literally saying "PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!! I'M DESPERATE FOR ATTENTION BECAUSE I'M A LONELY AND PATHETIC TROLL! ANY ATTENTION IS GOOD ATTENTION!!! LOOL AT ME!!!"

    Posted by: MateoM | Oct 4, 2012 1:39:05 PM

  19. prove it. URL. let's see this sterling example of masculinity you claim to embody :D

    click my name, see who i am. tis really that simple, sugarpie ;-)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 4, 2012 1:40:02 PM

  20. So proud of him!

    Posted by: River | Oct 4, 2012 2:32:33 PM

  21. Bravo Orlando! Te felicito por tener los cojones que se necesitan para salir del closet en Puerto Rico, especialmente en tu deporte. Boricua estoy contigo!!!!

    Posted by: Nestor | Oct 4, 2012 2:43:48 PM

  22. @ChristopherM ,

    YES boss, I'm a 'white boy'. So effing what? What's that got to do with anything? What 'racist' comments are you referring to?

    And I grew up mostly in a predominately P.R. neighborhood.


    @Lil Canadian,

    The fact you put your private info online is your business, I and MANY others would say that's pretty foolish for a variety of reasons. It has NOTHING to do with being 'brave'.

    Canadian broadcasters like the CBC [government financed broadcaster, analogous to PBS/NPR in the U.S.] is NOTORIOUSLY leftwing. I would agree that more diversity in political thought and ideologies exist in the U.S. media vs the Canadian.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 4, 2012 2:49:58 PM

  23. Rick--I know I'm probably at risk of wasting a good ten minutes of my life here, but I'm going to try to respond anyways. Your ideas simply don't work in a real world setting.

    (1) Your first comment rests on the assumption that most gay men in their youth behave a certain way because they identify as gay and in doing so choose to rebel against the hetero-normative messages they see every day, everywhere. If you prescribe to the primacy of learned behavior (as you seem to), then I'm curious how the vast majority of gay men with perceived feminine characteristics "learned" to have those behaviors. Doesn't this rest on the same logic behind the arguments that gay men are gay because of weak fathers, overbearing mothers, etc.? Do you ascribe to that logic? The socio-cultural impetus to be masculine because one is male is much stronger and more dominant than any countervailing feminizing force, at least for the vast majority of gay men. This is why the narrative of having to "act straight(er)" to survive is so common and nearly universal, while the narrative of having to "act gay" is relatively non-existent.

    (2) Straight men will always have dependence on women because of the biological urge to reproduce, and the emotional and mental connection that forges (which is also grounded in our physiology as humans). Over time the idea that this dependence is mutual has come to be recognized in our legal institutions, rather than a view that falsely imagines women as property and/or reproductive machines. Heterosexual reproduction and the bond that creates is not a paradigm--it's biological fact. Also, all men regardless of orientation have a profound biological connection with their mother. In short: men might be important, but so are women. Our quality as human beings is defined by how we integrate all people--men and women both--into our formation. I'm curious how your new culture of male-male soul mates actually functions in your paradigm.

    Most of my friends are straight, and when we discuss what made them into allies they uniformly say that it was simply because they recognized it as the right thing to do. The human thing to do. I just don't understand how emphasizing the male/female biological division or masculine/feminine social construct is going to be productive. Historically, the idea of common humanity and universality is always what has advanced human rights and equality.

    Posted by: Stefan | Oct 4, 2012 2:55:56 PM

  24. ratbastard, ya silly troll. it's not my fault you don't have the orbs to live honestly and can only spew your anti-black nonsense from a place of cowardly anonymity.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 4, 2012 3:08:41 PM

  25. There was also the boxer Marc Leduc who came out as gay. he won a medal at the olympics.
    But later passed away , i believe from suicide.

    As for the Canadian media, I would have to disagree that they are left wing. I would have to say more balanced. Most do not take a side, with the possible exception of sun TV.

    Posted by: Marc | Oct 4, 2012 3:32:37 PM

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