Emily Estefan Shares Her Coming Out On ‘Red Table Talk: The Estefans’, Russell Ray Tells How It Impacted Him from the Latino Perspective
In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, Global Superstar Gloria Estefan took over the red table on the east coast for the ‘Red Table Talk: The Estefan’s.’
In Episode 2 of the Estefan’s spin-off, daughter Emily shares the reality of coming out to her parents and family as a celebrity child.
Emily is the youngest child of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, born in 1994 and dubbed by Gloria as “mi milagro” (mi miracle). In the episode, Gloria says it was right before Emily’s debut album that she found out her daughter was gay. As seen in a clip posted on instagram, Gloria is seen acknowledging her part in Emily’s hurt as well as what she said to Emily when she found out she was gay.
As in many cases, the Estefan’s went through emotions of protection and inadvertently hurt Emily in efforts to protect her. Emily mentions that her mom is a gay icon and she felt that she could have supported her better. Gloria has since apologized for inadvertently hurting her daughter in protection of Emily being able to tell her story and in protection of Gloria’s mother, abuela’s, health.
When I first heard this conversation between the Estefan family, I was surprised to find out that Gloria and Emilio had a daughter whom was gay. As the conversation progressed I felt myself relating to much of Emily and Gloria’s story.
In the latino culture, you don’t talk about sexuality or your struggles in life. Being raised in a catholic family, sex was never spoken about and we were always reminded that god gives each one of us a cross to bare on our backs. My mother always made it a point for me to remember that many other people’s crosses (burdens) are heavier than my own.
When Emily told Gloria and Lili at the red table that she had both experinced sex with a male and female at one time, Gloria had no idea. She went on to say that she thought Emily was in control of her life and a “Bad Ass.” She goes on to explain that she had no idea that Emily needed her because she thought Emily was very confident.
In my own experience, my mother had the same reaction. She thought I was strong and confident, but did not know how to handle this situation. I am also her youngest child and the only one who was not in a relationship or with a child. Just as my mother viewed me, I also saw her as strong and able to handle big situations, as she had my whole life. What I did not expect, like in Emily’s case, was for my announcement to catch my mom so far off guard that she wouldn’t know how to handle it or embrace it. Needless to say, some growing pains came with this news to the family, as in Emily’s case.
Later in the episode, Rosie O’Donnell joined the conversation. O’Donnell has been best friends with Gloria for many years, and explains her perspective of Emily’s story. Rosie goes on to tell the family that each Emily and Gloria were understanding only one perspective of each other. Emily was seeing her mom as a gay icon who would or should be overly accepting of her sexuality. Gloria was seeing Emily as a strong independent, outspoken individual who she would have expected to be more forthcoming with her sexuality, causing each one to miss the mark they were hoping from one another.
One major victory of this conversation among the Estefans was that in today’s times, many latino stories are often not publicised in the media and this story gives LGBTQ+ latinos a place to seek answers. The Latino community is known for its strong sense of family, hard work and sacrifice to better one another within the family. What makes this episode of Red Table Talk so important, is that many latinos are taught to suppress their emotions or growing pains.
The conversation within the Estefan family helps to lift the latino community to have better communication within their family. In most cases we find latino stories on spanish spoken stations only and after forgotten in the mainstream media, however there is a large population of latinos who do not speak the language and need an example like the Estefans for representation. Emily Estefan’s coming out story in full english is vital for the well being of latino and latinx families, to learn how to bridge the gap of acceptance.
Many parents between the ages of 45 and 65 associate sexuality with shame and un-acceptance because of past histories of LGBTQ+ abuse and denial. This conversation of Red Table Talk is a huge victory of the voices of latinos and LGBTQ+ latinos. The Estefans should be proud of sharing this sensitive and vulnerable moment for other families to model after.
I thank the Estefan’s personally for showing their flaws and strengths in that matter. This conversation opened my eyes to culture norms that I was not noticing before and gave me many answers I didn’t know I was even seeking.
For the entire Red Table Talk: The Estefan’s episode, head over to Facebook Watch for Emily’s story and other episodes from the Estefan family.