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NAVY officer Mauricio Ruiz became the first member of the Chilean military to reveal he is gay on Wednesday, an unheard-of admission in the socially conservative country.
“There is nothing better than being yourself,” Mr Ruiz told a press conference.
He said he had already told his superiors because he was tired of leading a double life, then decided to go public.
Chile is a highly conservative country where even divorce was not allowed until 2004. A law governing same-sex unions is being debated but discrimination against suspected gay people in the military has been common.
“For me it is important to take this step, because to be repressed is to not accept what you are and that made me unhappy,” Mr Ruiz said.
Gay rights groups welcomed his announcement.
“He took a pioneering decision, worthy of brave people who take the first step,” said Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement spokesman Oscar Rementeria.
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