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Mexico's Out Proud Christian

Mexico's Out Proud Christian

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Christian Chavez is out and an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights in Latin America.

Christian Chavez is the heir apparent to Ricky Martin's Latin-American pop star throne. Like Martin, Chavez helped a teen pop group -- RDB -- sell millions of albums throughout the Spanish-speaking world, and he is now poised to take the United States by storm. Unlike Ricky Martin, though, when photos of what appeared to be a marriage ceremony between him and another young man surfaced in 2007, the Mexican-born artist answered, "Yes, I am gay."

Since that time, Chavez has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights in Latin America. His new album, out now, is called Almas Transparentes -- Transparent Souls -- and with song titles like "Sexyboy," this young gay artist isn't holding back.

The Advocate caught up with Chavez to talk about his new album at 7:30 a.m. -- and the singer was already several hours into his day.

The Advocate: You're getting an early start to the day, huh?
Christian Chavez: [Laughs] I've been awake since 4:00 a.m. But I'm OK!

In 2007 a magazine published photos of what appeared to be a gay marriage ceremony in Canada. Did you ever consider denying your sexuality when this information went public?

No, no, it was my decision. For me, it was really important to break out with those kinds of things. When I was 15 or 16, and I was struggling about my sexuality, I wished that there was somebody, a teenager, who I could look up to and be like, "Well, he's a gay guy and he's doing his life normal." And I think it was the best decision, because now, in Mexico, we live in a good, good place, a historic moment, because gay marriage is now allowed, and they're looking at adoption, so it's a great thing.

Newspapers all over the world covered the story of your coming-out, often indicating surprise that someone from Mexico would publicly admit to being gay. But gay marriage is now legal in Mexico City and another Mexican state. Do you think people throughout the world have the wrong idea about your home country?
Well, I think that some people tend to take the Mexican people for granted. There were a lot of ideas that Mexico was one step behind about a lot of things. In Mexico this is a really huge step. There's not a lot of countries that allow these kinds of things. For me, it's really wonderful, because it's a step for human rights. And little by little, for sure, it's a big, big step and a good example for Latin America as well.

How has your life changed since you came out?
Obviously, I was [happier]. When you can be free and you don't have to pretend who you are not, I think it's wonderful. I mean, to have the opportunity to live your life free, to have the people know who you are and what your preferences are, and they don't care. That's wonderful. And for me, that's a double challenge. Now I am starting to go solo, and I want to open those doors for a new generation and I have the responsibility to do good for them.

What motivated you to do a solo album now?
I love to sing, I love to dance. It's been my dream since I was a little kid. I mean, I love acting -- I did acting when I was in Mexico and, obviously, the soap operas I was in, Rebelde and Clase 406, and the group RDB came out. For me, the music is really important. It's really important for me as a composer, so right now, my album is called Almas Transparentes; it means "transparent souls." It's really what I try to give to the public because there's a lot of people who live with a character, or they're just using a mask. And it's so easy to be an almas transparentes. You have to be yourself and live how you want -- obviously with responsibility, but for me, being an almas transparente is [the right] decision.

Do you plan to tour in North America with this album?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, we're planning it. Actually, we're going to be in the gay parade in Long Beach and San Francisco. I'm really happy. We're starting to go to Latin America, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, so we're working there.

Ricky Martin told the Associated Press that he supports you and feels solidarity with you when you came out publicly. Do you know him personally? What was your reaction to his statement?
I've seen him at some awards and things like that. I haven't met him, but he's a great person ... helping kids. He's always doing things for human rights. I think it's great that an international speaker like Ricky Martin spoke up for me, and I think it's great for the whole gay community.

Tell me about the song "Sexyboy."
[Laughs] It's kind of a social [criticism] about those people that are always handsome, they're dressed perfectly and they go everywhere and they're treated like a special person, they never pay for anything. So it has humor in the lyrics. It's a dance song with an influence of electronic music. But the whole album, it has different influences, but it's totally dance-pop music.

One might assume that someone who grew up as a child star and has sold more than 9 million albums would be a little less down to earth. You seem really... normal.
[Laughs] Well, you know, I do think that fame and all those things are just like ... they're not always there. So what sticks out for you is your work and your way of being, and I really like to be with the fans, I like to talk to the people. I like when people take pictures and tell me, you know, I hear this and I hear that and I'm really proud of you. That's great. I mean, that's why I think an artist does these kinds of things. You know, I've known the [Advocate] magazine for a long time because my ex-partner, he's Canadian, and so I'm just ... I'm really proud that you're doing this interview. I'm really proud of that.

Speaking of your ex-partner, getting married in Canada was such a huge step. What drove you to do it, especially considering your fame? Was it a difficult decision given your public status, or was it just exciting?
Well, when I got married, I was clearly in love. And I was just thinking to ... to do something that in my country, I was not allowed. That's why I got married, and it was a wonderful experience. We were together for five years. Sadly, though, the relationship ended six months ago, but it was beautiful and I'm still talking with him. It was great. I'm great.

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