updated 03/29/2010 AT 7:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/29/2010 AT 5:15 PM ET
After years of sidestepping questions about his sexual orientation, singer Ricky Martin reveals in a heartfelt posting online that he is gay.
“I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man,” Martin, 38, said Monday on RickyMartinMusic.com. “I am very blessed to be who I am.”
He said his twin sons, who turn 2 in August, inspired him to be true to himself.
“To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids were born with,” Martin writes. “These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.”
Martin has said fatherhood changed his life for the better. “I’m so happy!” he told PEOPLE in December 2008 after his sons were born. “Everything they do, from smiling to crying, feels like a blessing. Being a father feels amazing. This has been the most spiritual moment in my life.”
After Martin’s announcement Monday, the Gay, Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a statement in support of the singer.
“When someone like Ricky Martin comes out, hundreds of millions of people now have a cultural connection with an artist, a celebrity and, perhaps most importantly, a father who happens to be gay,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of GLAAD. “His decision to model this kind of openness and honesty can lead to greater acceptance for countless gay people in U.S., in Latin America and worldwide.”