“The Walking Dead” and “Vampire Diaries” star Daniel Newman publicly came out as gay on Thursday in a YouTube video and on Twitter, saying it was his way of standing up for the LGBTQ community.
“It was just time,” he said.
The actor first came out on Twitter, saying he was out and proud. “Be proud of yourself,” he wrote. “I’ll chat with you guys tonight.”
— Daniel Newman (@DanielNewman) March 30, 2017
Later on Friday, he posted a video to his YouTube page describing his decision to come out. He said he was inspired to disclose his sexuality after an encounter at a homeless youth shelter where he was volunteering. According to Newman, a girl thanked him for helping out with the LGBTQ community as a straight ally. When he told her he wasn’t straight, she asked him why he hadn’t come out publicly before.
“I realized how important it is in this day and age to be visible, have people know who you are,” he explained. “When you are accomplishing incredible things and you are hiding who you are, you are hurting hundreds of millions of people.”
He doesn’t give the full reason why he remained in the closet, but he attributed it at least partially to his upbringing, which he said prioritized privacy.
“I grew up in an Irish Catholic family, a farm town in Georgia in the South, and it wasn’t even about homophobia or anything; you just keep your private life private,” he said. “So that’s the way I’ve always been. But now is not the time any longer to keep it private.”
The actor also attributed it to his industry.
“The whole world, the industry, is like, ‘Here’s your big break, you’re on ‘The Walking Dead,’ you can’t come out, you can’t be in the press, because everything you work so hard for is going to be gone. There’s no gay or bi leading men, no action heroes, your career’s going to be over.’ I don’t care. Because I know what’s right.”
Newman also added that he never identified with the “effeminate guys,” who he said were the strongest ones and were “amazing.”
“If you don’t identify with that you need to be visible, you need to show the entire full spectrum of the community.”
The reaction to his coming out has been positive over on his Twitter page, where he’s retweeted people with words of encouragement and their own stories.
Hey Daniel I tell my son that every day, be proud of who you are, yes my 18 yr old son is gay,
— Ruthjackson68 (@jackruthie68) March 31, 2017
Watch the full video above.