It has been almost three years since Cuban-born Roberto Arango resigned from the Puerto Rican Senate in the wake of a scandal over a number of nude photos from a Grindr profile were leaked to the press. Initially Arango denied he was the man in the photos and then he acknowledged some of the photos were his but alleged he had taken them to document his weight-loss under a new diet but he never admitted whether the photos came from a personal profile on the popular gay men's hook up app or whether he was gay.
In 2004 he mocked a San Juan mayoral candidate during a political rally by implying he was gay and holding a plastic duck and making quacking noises when speaking against him ("pato" or duck in Spanish is a word often used as a slur against gays in Puerto Rico).
In 2007 he embraced a conservative religious coalition and personally received thousands of signatures they had collected against same-sex civil unions as he vowed to defend so-called Christian values in the Puerto Rican senate and prevent changes to the civil code. That year he also led efforts to amend the Puerto Rican constitution to ban recognition of any unions that were not those between a man and a woman (the effort ultimately failed).
And in 2009 he defended secret efforts by conservative colleagues in the Senate to pass a bill banning adoption rights for same-sex couples as I documented in a previous post.
After resigning from the Senate Arango retired in the United States where he said he wanted to dedicate more time to raising a daughter from a previous marriage and concentrate on his personal life.
And then last May he reappeared publicly to urge the conservative party in which he had served as a Senator to back a number of measures to protect members of the LGBT community from discrimination (the measures would pass).
It was a welcome sign that Arango might have come around on his past efforts against the LGBT community.
There were rumors that Arango might be paving his way to return to Puerto Rican politics but the scandal and the unanswered questions about his sexuality remained.
Today, three years after the scandal, Arango finally came out in a radio interview with Noti UNO an excerpt of which was posted on YouTube...
REPORTER: Following the controversy over the photos there was a lot of speculation about your sexual preference. Isn't it time for you to state whether or not you are a homosexual?
ROBERTO ARANGO: Well, the day someone asks me I will give a reply. In that respect, I have nothing to hide.
REPORTER: Are you a homosexual?
ROBERTO ARANGO: Yes. And on top of that I am a businessman. On top of that I am a father, I am a brother, I am a son. On top of that I like doing community work and volunteering. On top of that I like helping different communities. I like it and I am someone who likes to bring changes and progress and to give opportunities to those who want it.
REPORTER: When did you realize you were one.
ROBERTO ARANGO: I think it happened when I accepted it and I may not be a psychologist or a specialist in that field...
REPORTER: And did you accept it before your exit from the Senate?
ROBERTO ARANGO: No. It was after. My exit from the Senate and the process itself was what led me to accept myself.
Audio of the entire half hour interview in Spanish is available here.
UPDATE #1: Metro reports that Arango is preparing to launch a campaign to become the mayor of San Juan.
UPDATE #2: Full 45 minute interview, in Spanish, as later posted by NOTI UNO:
- Anti-gay pol comes out three years after Grindr scandal (JoeMyGod)
- Anti-gay Puerto Rican senator who resigned over Grinder photos comes out of the closet (Towleroad)
- Anti-gay former Puerto Rican senator comes out as gay (Instinct)
- After years of being anti-gay, Puerto Rican politician comes out of the closet (Gay Star News)