Earlier this month, Cruz declared that he was and “always will be a proud gay man.” Expecting the worst, Cruz was instead applauded and congratulated for his bravery.
Fellow openly gay Puerto Rican Ricky Martin tweeted, “Congratulations Boricua for your courage! I’m so happy for you! Power to you! Peace to you and yours!” Cruz also received messages of support from all over the world, including Spain, Australia, Nigeria and Afghanistan, noting that 95% of responses to his coming-out have been positive.
“All this time I was waiting, waiting, waiting,” Cruz told the Orlando Sentinel. “I had to let go of this.”
Coming out to the world is one thing, but Cruz also found his parents accepting. His mother, Dominga Torres, had her suspicions about Orlando’s sexuality, but didn’t want to pry . Still, Torres was not surprised when he told her after coming back form the Sydney Olympics in 2000, where he had his first experience with a man.
“A mother knows her son,” she said as she watched him train for his fight Friday with Jorge Pazos. “Nobody is perfect in life. Only God is perfect. You have to learn to love your child no matter what.”
His father was a tougher nut to crack, and though he initially rejected Orlando, he’s come around, if not all the way to full acceptance.
“Dad supports me,” Cruz said. “After all, I am his son, and it’s my life, and he has to respect me for who I am.”
Orlando’s father will show his support for his son at the Pazos fight Friday, which could position Cruz for a world title shot.