Chile navy officer makes history, saying he is gay

Santiago - A navy officer on Wednesday became the first member of the Chilean military to reveal he is gay, a groundbreaking admission in this conservative Catholic country.

"There is nothing better than being yourself", a shy-looking Mauricio Ruiz, aged 24, told a press conference.

He said he had already told his superiors because he was tired of leading a double life, and then decided to go completely public by speaking to the media.

Chile is a highly conservative country, where even divorce was not allowed until 2004, and discrimination against suspected gays in the military and society in general have been common. A law governing same sex unions is being debated.

"For me it is important to take this step, because to be repressed is to not accept what you are, and that made me unhappy", Ruiz said.

Gays can have a tough time in Chile.

The violent death of a young gay man named Daniel Zamudio at the hands of alleged neo-Nazis prompted a 2012 law that punished people who discriminated against others because of their race, sexual orientation or social status.

Gay rights groups welcomed Ruiz's announcement.

"He took a pioneering decision, worthy of brave people who take the first step", said Oscar Rementeria, spokesperson for the homosexual integration and liberation movement.

Ruiz said his partner initially did not want him to come out because he feared for Ruiz's safety. The partner stood beside him at the press conference.

In the end, the reaction was not as adverse as he expected, Ruiz said.

"I don't know what I was afraid of", he said.

Read more on: chile gay rights
Peter Jacobs 2014/08/28 01:43:38 PM
Good for him!!!! FYI: bet u none of u haters would dare to say any of that crap to his face? Remember not all of us gays are fem. Damn ignorant fools!!!
Melusi Khanyile KwaSthwathwa 2014/08/28 02:17:15 PM
Maybe it waz Adam and Steve and they adopted two sons dats why dey killed each other
Brian Howard 2014/08/28 03:01:10 PM
This is one of the signs of how evil,warped and depraved the world is.And now i'll be called a bigot for standing firm in my belief.The irony of it all.Who are the biggest bigots of all then i ask ?
Sabeer Mahomed 2014/08/28 03:01:44 PM
More and more are converting
Lesvokli Pitsiladi 2014/08/28 03:09:37 PM
Well done! Hopefully we will soon live in a world where people can safely love who they were born to love!