Credit: Todd Williamson/

Last March Ricky Martin, 39, put years of rumors to rest when he came out as a gay man, and now the hit-maker is being honored by GLAAD with the Vito Russo Award.

"Ricky coming out was a game changer for many gay and transgender Latino children, who for too long, did not have many out gay people to look up to," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "Through his music, videos and interviews, Ricky has sent an important message that our community wants the same things all people do: an equal chance to raise our families and take care of our loved ones."

The Award--which honors an openly gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual media professional--will be presented at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards ceremony in New York March 19.

Previous recipients include Cynthia Nixon (who welcomed a son with fiancee Christine Marinoni earlier this week), Alan Cumming, Rosie O'Donnell, Nathan Lane, and Elton John.

"I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man," Martin wrote on his official web site last year. "I am very blessed to be who I am."