NEW YORK (Reuters) - Latin pop star Ricky Martin was honored by media group GLAAD for his work as a role model at a gala held on Saturday where he urged people to spread gay rights throughout Latin America.
"I just want to be free. I can say, today I am free," the Puerto Rican singer said at New York's Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards, which recognize the best portrayals of gay community members in film, television, radio, music, newspapers and blogs.
Martin, the 39 year-old singer of hits such as his 1999 single "Livin' la Vida Loca" who has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide, revealed he was gay in 2010 after more than a decade in the international spotlight.
His coming-out included a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey and since then, he has been heralded as a gay role model, especially for Latin Americans.
Martin thanked his parents and boyfriend before urged the audience to "let's go Latin America and let's share the love."
U.S. comedian Tina Fey accepted the outstanding individual episode award for a program on her TV show "30 Rock," and music mogul Russell Simmons received an excellence award for breaking boundaries in the world of hip-hop music.
Vampire TV show "True Blood" won outstanding drama series, while "The Oprah Winfrey Show" claimed best talk show episode for "Ricky Martin Coming Out as a Gay Man and a New Dad."
Martin, who became the father of twin boys with a surrogate mother in 2008, was given the Vito Russo Award, named for the late gay activist and film historian.
Among other winners were U.S. band Scissor Sisters and stage play "The Pride." CNN's Anderson Cooper, newspapers The Star-Ledger and The Denver Post and online magazine Essence.com were singled out for their coverage of gay and lesbian issues.
GLAAD, which promotes positive images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the media, will present additional media awards in Los Angeles on April 10 and San Francisco in May 14.
Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte