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Pop superstar Ricky Martin released a statement, published in the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia on Saturday, that denounces recent antigay murders and asks people to "accept diversity" as the first step toward eliminating hate.
"In the past few weeks, I've read many articles that have made me shudder and unfortunately the articles relate to things that are happening every day around the world," wrote Martin, who also posted the statement on his website in English earlier this month.
"I find it almost impossible to believe that in the year 2009, we're struggling with such hateful situations."
Martin, whose sexuality is the subject of frequent speculation, was born in Puerto Rico, where gay teenager Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was found brutally murdered in November.
"Well, when we believe in peace, there is simply no room for complacency," wrote Martin, a father of young children who describes himself as a "human rights defender."
"The murders of James Byrd, Matthew Shepard, Jorge Steven Lopez, Marcelo Lucero, Luis Ramirez and countless others who were victims of violent 'hate crimes' should be completely unacceptable to every human being; because we're all human beings. It's up to us to change the paradigm. I hear the world 'tolerance' thrown around in the media when it comes to cases like the ones I mentioned above. One of the meanings of tolerance is 'the capacity to endure pain or hardship.' Another is 'the act of allowing something.' To me, those don't seem to encompass acceptance, by any definition. So how about this? Instead of saying 'we need to tolerate diversity' why not say, 'we need to accept diversity.'"
Read the full statement here in Spanish, and here in English.