Us the Duo's Carissa Rae Martin reclaims her coming out: “I am proud to be queer”

Us the Duo's Carissa Rae Martin reclaims her coming out: “I am proud to be queer”
Us the Duo's Carissa Rae Martin reclaims her coming out: “I am proud to be queer”

"I'm Carissa Rae Martin and I am proud to be queer," the newly divorced singer reclaims her sexuality in a heartfelt personal essay for Out.

In March, couple Carissa Rae Martin and Michael Alvarado, as well as members of folk-pop band Us the Duo, announced they had divorced. The two married young, getting engaged when Martin was only 20, and tied the knot a year later. This fairytale romance was the foundation of their band's image as the "perfect couple" and a big draw for fans who fell in love with their musical talents. In the 12 years of their marriage, the duo found success with their music and became parents to a beautiful daughter, Xyla, in 2018.

Earlier this month, Alvarado released an album, The Five Stages, about the end of their relationship, which included the track “Homewrecker.” The song outlines a claim that Martin had an affair with a woman who stole her from Alvarado and is the thing that allegedly led to their divorce. But Martin is done with people pleasing and letting others tell her story.

With their divorce finalized earlier this year, self-proclaimed "chronic people pleaser" Martin could put herself first and figure out who she was outside of Alvarado, whom she says it was easy "for [him] to be in control." That freedom ultimately allowed her to discover she was queer, something that she'd be forced to reclaim on her terms.

"Coming out should have been a sacred process. Something that should have been on my own terms. But that was ripped away from me. It was one thing to be outed to my friends and family, but to be outed publicly through a song for personal gain and promotion? Absolutely sickening. It's time to share my truth," Martin wrote.

The newly out queer singer wanted to handle this matter privately and was forced to address her sexuality in the public eye to set the record straight. But Alvarado outing his ex-wife was one last show of control over Martin.

A coming out moment should be one of letting others into who you discovered you really are on your own terms, but Martin steps into her queerness gracefully, reclaiming her identity and truth, showing that we all have a right to be ourselves no matter our circumstances.

"To any queer people out there who feel misunderstood or betrayed, nobody should be punished for being themselves. I see you and I'm sending love and radiance your way always," Martin says.