Cross-Atlantic Discourses in Celebrity Coming Out Stories: The Cases of Ricky Martin and Tiziano Ferro


  • Richard D. Sawyer Washington State University Vancouver
  • Angelo Benozzo University Della Valle D'Aosta


coming out, celebrity, discourse, globalization, homosexuality, homonormativity, neoliberalism


In 2010, Ricky Martin, a popular Puerto Rican/American singer, published an online letter announcing his homosexuality to his fans. Six months later, Tiziano Ferro, a well-known Italian pop singer, also published his own coming-out letter in an Italian daily. In this paper, the authors examine these letters in order to delineate discourses of gay identity as well as emergent neoliberal framings of homosexuality—on both sides of the Atlantic. They show how Martin’s and Ferro’s coming out announcements are characterized by hegemonic discourses of homonormativity centered on private, not public, expressions of sexuality. The authors further show how those discourses are characteristic of slightly different situated economic forces and policies of neoliberalism, based on location, framing constructions of sexual identity.

Author Biographies

Richard D. Sawyer, Washington State University Vancouver

Richard Sawyer is a professor of education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Washington State University Vancouver. He chairs both the MIT Secondary Program and the Teacher Leadership Ed.D. Program. His areas of scholarship include both curriculum theory and qualitative methodologies, focused on emergent understandings and grounded epistemologies. He is especially interested in collaborative ethnographies.

Angelo Benozzo, University Della Valle D'Aosta

Dr. Benozzo is a senior lecturer in the Dipartimento di Scienze Umane e Sociali in Italy.