entertainment

'It got scary': Gloria Estefan's daughter on coming out as a lesbian

11 Comments
By Hugo Greenhalgh

Forbidden by her global superstar mother Gloria Estefan from coming out as a lesbian to her grandmother, singer Emily Estefan said she contemplated suicide.

The second child of multi-Grammy award-winning Cuban-American singer of hits like "Rhythm is Going to Get You" said her "anxiety went through the roof" when her grandmother died a few months later in 2017.

"It got scary, it got pretty bad," the 25-year-old told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a joint video call with her mother.

"I was disconnected from my music, so I was really feeling that I just didn't want to be here any more," she said, her black tank top revealing a tattoo of a dragonfly and an orb.

Four in 10 young LGBT+ people in the United States say they have seriously considered suicide over the past 12 months, according to The Trevor Project, the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBT+ youth.

The two women revealed how difficult it was for Gloria to support Emily when she came out because of her own fears that the news would kill her ailing grandmother in "Red Table Talk: The Estefans", showing on Facebook Watch this month.

The first series of the popular web talk show featured actor Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith and Pinkett Smith's mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, discussing topics such as drug addiction and self-harm.

Gloria Estefan, speaking from her home in Miami Beach, said she felt "terrible" hearing her daughter open up about her mental health after witnessing her struggle.

"I was really scared because what I was seeing was Emily losing weight, Emily not making her music, Emily changing," said one of the world's most successful Latin crossover stars, who has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

"It was like I was seeing these changes that I didn't really know where they were coming from. I didn't know the kind of angst that was inside of her."

LESBIAN ROLE MODEL

Despite the praise Emily Estefan has won as an LGBT+ role model for young people, she said she does not want public discussions about her sexuality to overshadow her music.

"You worry that in some weird way people will shun your art because of your sexuality but the reality is I don't want those people listening to my music anyway," said the singer, who released her first album "Take Whatever You Want" in 2017.

It has not been easy for Emily Estefan to carve out a career in music with such famous parents - her father Emilio is also a musician and producer and winner of 19 Grammys.

"I didn't even sing to myself alone because I was worried I was going to open my mouth and my mom was going to crawl out," she said from the family-owned Crescent Moon Studios in Florida.

"I didn't start to sing until I was 18 and the first person I sang to was my mom. My voice was shaking."

Emily Estefan has gone on to sing publicly many times, notably with her mother at a 2018 musical celebration for her godfather, music legend Quincy Jones who produced some of Michael Jackson's most successful albums.

And while she is now comfortable in the public eye, Emily Estefan rejects the labels that others might place upon her.

"In reality - in a perfect alien society I would love to live in - I don't feel the need for labels," she said.

Ultimately she said she was now in a position - both in terms of her mental health and her music career - to simply be herself.

"You can call me a lesbian, you can call me Tom, you can call me Queen Zorba. You can call me whatever you want," she said laughing.

"Nothing makes me uncomfortable in terms of what you choose to label me."

© Thomson Reuters Foundation

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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There are several musicians who have famous musical parents. Last year I saw (Jeff Lynne's) ELO and the opener was Dhani Harrison, son of the Beatle George. He put out his first CD and it's pretty modern in styling. He's being his own artist which is the best route for him, and Emily.

During ELO's set Dhani dueted with Jeff for a Travelling Wilburys number in place of his FAB dad. Other than that he's better off not being in George's shadow.

And Emily just needs to be her own self. As for the 'lesbian factor', if some people can't handle that then they're not her fans anyway. She don't need 'fake fans' like that. There are a lot of good gay musicians out there. I'm straight but I grew up with Culture Club, the B-52s, Judas Priest and such. And I met the actor George Takei before he came out. He's talented and a nice guy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I didn't know who Emily Estefan was until I read this article. I also didn't know she was a lesbian, before this article. I am still wondering about the relevance of Emily Estefan after reading this article. Even the title of the story struggles with the relevance of Emily Estefan. Does anybody have some albums they would recommend?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Regrettably, in place of therapy, too many moderately gender confused persons, such as Emily Estefan, engage in thoughts of suicide, alcohol or drug abuse, solely sexual acts, codependent relationships, pornography, pathological gambling, etc., in order to numb or be released from their symptoms rather than having the cause(s) examined and treated.

We can hope that Ms. Estefan will seek the help she needs so she can live a fully flourishing life without thoughts of suicide.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Rolf AndersonToday  06:49 pm JST

Regrettably, in place of therapy, too many moderately gender confused persons, such as Emily Estefan, engage in thoughts of suicide, alcohol or drug abuse, solely sexual acts, codependent relationships, pornography, pathological gambling, etc., in order to numb or be released from their symptoms rather than having the cause(s) examined and treated.

We can hope that Ms. Estefan will seek the help she needs so she can live a fully flourishing life without thoughts of suicide.

Part of the problem in America is that there's some people who believe in that 'gay conversion therapy' crap, which is often done in the name of religion. It's become illegal to impose that on gays in Canada now. It's psycho mumbo-jumbo and it's destructive.

These zealots use the Old Testament as an excuse for their hatred and that's taking the LORD's name in vain. And what did Jesus Christ say about gays? Zilch. not to promote any religion here but for America it's an EXCUSE to hate others. It's a tragic disgusting scene that draws people away from God and into despair, alienation, destructive lives, and even suicide.

And yes I hope Emily can get the right REAL help and love and acceptance that everyone needs. People like her shouldn't be put in the shredder. That's UNCHRISTIAN and it's UNGODLY.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's psycho mumbo-jumbo and it's destructive.

Telling Emily Estefan and other moderately confused gender people that there is no hope and that all therapy is mumbo-jumbo is destructive.

Due to anti-science bans, those seeking aid based on a patient’s right of self-determination are told that psychoanalysis, behavior therapies, cognitive therapies, group therapies, interventions, pharmacology, and other such methods are unacceptable, unprofessional and unscientific and that they have no right to informed consent.

This is a disservice to the needy.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Great mothering skills there..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good luck to her. Sadly, there are people out there who obsess and take great pleasure from telling LGBT how to behave and what they can and can't do.

There are a lot of good gay musicians out there.

And doctors, nurses, builders, garbage collectors, laywers, IT staff, shop owners, barbers, drivers, inspectors, clerks, mail people etc, etc.

I'm straight but I grew up with Culture Club, the B-52s, Judas Priest and such.

Good for you, but why the clarification over sexuality? Have noticed that a lot (over the years), when someone talks about gay people or shows support, they also feel the need to say that they're heterosexual.

Relax, folks. Nobody's going to think you're gay if you speak up or happen like to stuff that may have been created by someone who's gay. It's not catching, you know :-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm straight but I grew up with Culture Club, the B-52s, Judas Priest and such.

Good for you, but why the clarification over sexuality? Have noticed that a lot (over the years), when someone talks about gay people or shows support, they also feel the need to say that they're heterosexual.

Relax, folks. Nobody's going to think you're gay if you speak up or happen like to stuff that may have been created by someone who's gay. It's not catching, you know :-)

Who said it was 'catching'? I took a GF to see the B-52s and we had a great time. I did have a 'crush' as a young dude on Kate Pierson (the redhead chick) and when gay marriages got legalized in America she married HER GF the next day.

Whaddaya know? Would've never guessed it. Same for Judas Priest who I also grew up listening to, and Rob Halford is a BADASS.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Same for Judas Priest who I also grew up listening to, and Rob Halford is a BADASS.

Need to listen to more JP, do like "Breaking the Law". He was interviewed on 6Music a couple of weeks back. Interesting guy,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Toasted HereticOct. 25  11:31 am JST

Same for Judas Priest who I also grew up listening to, and Rob Halford is a BADASS.

Need to listen to more JP, do like "Breaking the Law". He was interviewed on 6Music a couple of weeks back. Interesting guy,

I read an interview he had with Rolling Stone magazine online and he is an interesting intelligent fellow. JP did a Motown cover with producers S-A-W in the 80s that has yet to be released. Then again, on JP's 1979 live album ('Live in Japan' (?), something like that) they cover Joni Mitchell's 'diamonda anf Rust'. And in 1988 they covered 'Johnny Be Goode' for the HORRIBLE movie by the sameb title. Still, good cover.

And who says Judas Priest doesn't have a sense of humor?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Toasted HereticOct. 25  11:31 am JST

Same for Judas Priest who I also grew up listening to, and Rob Halford is a BADASS.

Need to listen to more JP, do like "Breaking the Law". He was interviewed on 6Music a couple of weeks back. Interesting guy,

If you like that song check out its video on YouTube. JP goes out and robs a bank! Its pretty humorous seeing them in a crime spree!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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