The national mourning after Juan Gabriel's death has been reminiscent of the very public outpouring of emotion in the UK when Princess Diana died, also without warning. In spite of this shared collective mourning, contradictions in the figure of the icon became apparent almost immediately. While some press commentators congratulated a once-macho Mexico on its heartfelt devotion to this effeminate icon, others noted more skeptically that the same men weeping over the so-called divo de Juárez were also marching in demonstrations opposing the marriage-equality initiative proposed by President Peña Nieto. This new unanimity around the love for the instantly canonized Juan Gabriel was thus crosscut with an intermittent acknowledgment of the homosexuality of which he himself never spoke. In a famous formulation of the glass closet or open secret that was widely repeated on TV after his death, an interviewer on Univision had once asked him directly if he was gay. He had replied: “What you can see, you don't need to ask” (Lo que se ve, no se pregunta). Flagrantly visible, then, Juan Gabriel was also sternly silent, striking a knowing bargain with his socially conservative fans who would not ask if he did not tell. And he never took up a political position in favor of what Mexicans call “sexual diversity.”

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