Openly gay Mexican singer Chavela
Vargas has died. She was 93.
According to The New York Times,
Vargas died Sunday in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Vargas fell ill last month
while performing in Madrid, Spain. Biographer and friend Maria
Cortina told the paper that the cause was heart and respiratory
Vargas publicly announced she was gay
in a 2000 interview with Madrid daily El Pais.
“I've had to fight to be myself and
to be respected. I'm proud to carry this stigma and call myself a
lesbian. I don't boast about it or broadcast it, but I don't deny
it. I've had to confront society and the Church, which says that
homosexuals are damned. That's absurd. How can someone who's born
like this be judged? I didn't attend lesbian classes. No one taught
me to be this way. I was born this way, from the moment I opened my
eyes in this world. I've never been to bed with a man. Never. Just
imagine what purity. I have nothing to be ashamed of. My gods made
me the way I am,” she said.
Vargas immigrated from Costa Rica to
Mexico City in her teens. She recorded her first album, Noches de
Bohemia, in 1961. Heavy drinking put her career on hold in the
1970s and she did not reemerge until the early 1990s, the Times