A 24-year-old sailor in Chile made
history this week as the nation's first serving member of the Chilean
armed forces to announce he's gay.
Mauricio Ruiz told journalists at a
press conference in Santiago that the decision to come out had “not
been easy,” but he felt it was important to fight anti-gay
Gay people, Ruiz said, have “no
reason to hide.”
“We can do anything, be marines or in
any branch [of the military],” he said. “We can do whatever
profession, and we deserve as much respect as anyone else.”
“In life there's nothing better than
to be yourself, to be authentic. To look at people in the eye and
for those people to know who you are.”
The Chilean armed forces said they
fully supported Ruiz.
“[The Navy is] telling the country
and the members of the institution particularly that it is possible
for gays and lesbians to be part of the armed forces and that they
aren't going to suffer discrimination because of their sexual
orientation within these institutions,” said Rolando Jimenez,
president of Movement for Integration and Homosexual Liberation.