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Yesterday the (not particularly liked) Mexican tabloid show TVNotas leaked audio in which actor Luis Gerardo Méndez is having a conversation, which lasted approximately three and a half minutes, with an unknown man to formalize a threeway between him and his partner.
The news was rapidly disseminated throughout media and social media alike, due to Méndez’s prominent status. The 35-year-old Mexican actor and producer, originally from Aguascalientes, is currently one of the most sought-after actors in the country. He’s the face of important national brands and star of the Netflix series Club de Cuervos, in which he plays a straight man who co-owns a soccer team. He’s also stared in Spanish-language blockbusters and theater.
But this isn’t the first time Mexican media has pounced on the actor’s sexuality, and it probably won’t be the last. Nor is it likely to be the last time Méndez denies he’s gay.
In 2014, Moi magazine published an interview with Méndez that led to several tabloids to run with the story that the actor is gay. Weeks later he chalked it all up to a misunderstanding that took place on the red carpet of the movie Cantinflas, saying, “These are statements that were taken out of context. You’ve known me from a long time. I do not talk about my personal life, and I’m not interested in starting now.”
Méndez also made his clear his thoughts on the prognostication of celebrities’ sexuality: “I think the day a person’s sexuality ceases to be news, we are going to take a very important step as a society,” he said. While we’re a long way’s away from living in a post-gay world, we tend to agree with him.
Sure, we could debate the sexuality of Luis Gerardo Méndez, as the media of Mexico has proven it loves to do. But it’s not the media’s responsibility to do that; nor should that be its prerogative. Celebrity or not, an individual’s sexuality — and the decision to keep such matters private — should be respected.
Mexican society is a largely conservative, traditional community (and don’t even get me started on the notion of Mexican “machismo”). That often means anything outside of the ‘monogamous heterosexual couple’ is rejected and stigmatized.
The leaking of audio like Méndez’s conversation has given the entire population what feels like permission to judge his sex life and relationship status as immoral and degenerate, reinforcing a whole slew of stigmas. In a previous article, we tackled the notion of slut-shaming, and how even within the LGBTQ community we tend to demonize gay men who act on their sexuality. It’s something that doesn’t help us evolve as a community, and it should stop.
Every single individual who ‘comes out’ as a member of the LGBTQ community not only increases our numbers as a disenfranchised minority but reinforces the fact that we are ‘here and queer.’ The more members of our tribe who are visible to the world, the stronger our voice.
But that is a personal decision that should only be made by the individual himself. So to the Mexican media constantly chasing a headline on this famous actor’s sexuality, we say, “Leave Luis Gerardo Méndez Alone!”