Why the song “El Gran Varón” is generating debate in the LGBT+ community

The LGBT+ community is of two minds about “The Great Man”.

It started sounding in 1989 great man of Willie Colon, A song that reflects on a very stigmatized and controversial topic from the 80s and 90s.

Since its inception, it has been common to hear it everywhere from celebrations to public transport. However, over the years, to this day, it causes divided opinions to talk about AIDS.

In the LGBT+ community, there are members who say the song is an anthem, while others point out that it is dismissive of people with AIDS; It has even been mentioned that it can be encouraged Xerophobia.

As stated therein Royal Spanish AcademyThe Xerophobia It is defined as “hatred of HIV-positive people”. So it can be considered as Fear, rejection or discrimination of people living with human immunodeficiency virus.

This discrimination can manifest itself in various areas such as work, health or society; Mainly based on prejudices and lack of information about the transmission and treatment of the virus.

In other words, the Xerophobia Contributes to the stigma and marginalization of people living with HIV, negatively impacting their quality of life.

A section of the LGBT+ community believes that the song “The Great Man” causes xerophobia. Credit: CurtoScuro

Beyond being the danceable salsa at all parties, the song he talks about caused some radio stations to censor him during its premiere; Despite this, it was a great success, becoming one of the most popular singles.

Written by Omar Alfano and performed by salsero Willie Colón, the song tells the story of Simon, son of Don Andrés, who goes to study in New York. In a surprise visit, Don Andres discovers that his son is transgender and infected with HIV/AIDS.

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In an interview for the portal Until todayThe writer admitted that there is a true story behind the song, which was inspired by a friend of his who died of AIDS in the late 80s.

“It is based on a true story of a friend who went to high school with me. After some time I came to know about his drama,” he said.

And he added: “He was bullied a lot and couldn't come out of the closet because in the 60s and 70s, coming out as gay was something that only a hero did.”

The great man was impressed by a close friend of the author. Credit Willie Callan/Facebook

The song is basically a true story, the only fictional thing is the name Simone, because according to the author, she changed it to protect her identity. “The fictional part of the rest of the Simon story is only true to reality,” he explained.

“The period also corresponds to the era, and it was the summer of 1986, I wrote great man When my friend was dying of AIDS, he was a patient in the 10th bed and he did not survive,” he added.

In addition to talking about a topic that was practically forbidden, the combination of sadness, poise and realism managed to earn the single a gold and platinum record. On the main Billboard Latin music chart, it peaked at Nos. 23 and 50.

Although this is not the first song to address the social issues of the time, even the author considers it so “Cousin of Pedro Navaja” was a great man, today it is known and appreciated for its cultural and social impact. Also, due to its bold and relevant themes, it has been included in many anthologies and lists of influential songs in the history of Latin music.

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Gillian Patton

"Tv aficionado. Lifelong communicator. Travel ninja. Hardcore web buff. Typical music geek."

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