Guest blog: Still, I can't help but think that it is selfish for a public figure to keep their sexuality to themselves for reasons of privacy
Nothing stirred up controversy at the Golden Globes this year quite like Jodie Foster's acceptance speech. It was as if she wanted to publicly declare that she was a lesbian but was still held back by something. I understand what she was saying about only coming out to close friends and family, and there was a time when I would've agreed with her — but not anymore.
To be completely honest, I don't believe that it was solely an issue of privacy for her. I, personally, feel that there may still be some deeply rooted insecurity and possibly even self-hatred that she is dealing with. I know because I have been there.
With the bullying and suicide rates of children, particularly gay children, at an all-time high I can't help but think that it is selfish for a public figure to keep their sexuality to themselves for reasons of privacy and that is why, although I have nowhere near the credits Ms. Foster has to her name, today, as a working actor, I am proud to publicly say, from the beginning stages of my career, that I am a gay man … and I always have been.
I promised myself that once I started working as an actor, I would publicly come out, and her speech was the catalyst that finally pushed me to keep that promise. Like Ms. Foster, I only told my closest friends and a couple of family members, until now, but pretty much everyone suspected.
I remember the years of self-hating very well. Every night I would try to pray it away until I fell asleep exhausted from crying. I remember being terrified that my family would hate me and that my friends would abandon me. I remember thinking that I was a disgrace in the eyes of God. I remember feeling completely alone … and that, Ms. Foster, is why it is necessary for public figures and people in positions of power to sacrifice their privacy and proudly come out and stand together.
So that no child need feel alone or look to the TV and media to try to understand themselves a little better and find nothing and no one looking back at them. I've always said, One of the best parts of acting is that you have an opportunity to touch the heart of a complete stranger at a moment when maybe nothing else in their world can. We cannot lose one more child!
Sadly, there is still some prejudice in Hollywood, though. I have met with countless agents and managers who've asked that golden question, "But can you play straight roles?" Umm … you do know what the definition of an actor is, right? I don't care if I have to work with a choreographer for months to change mannerisms for a role … it can be done.
What they really mean is I want somehow who fits into these molds. So many people in Hollywood try to teach aspiring actors "the way" to break into the business when the reality is that no one in this business knows what they want, but they know that it's not you, until you show them that it's you, and exactly where you fit … and then everyone wants your type.
There is still a part of me that is terrified while writing this … and I will probably have to hold my breath until I press the send button, but I hope that this reaches someone who needs to read it. I hope that it makes even one less person feel alone in the world and I hope that the networks, studios, producers, directors, agents, managers and my fellow actors and actresses, all stand beside of me and continue to welcome me into their world with open arms.
At this point, in my career, no one may care, but I have to be honest from the beginning, for myself and for those who have no voice. We can create beautiful worlds together … ones that are entertaining and meaningful.