Sean Hayes, Jack McFarland on Will & Grace, receiving an Outfest Legacy Award, on how he wishes he'd come out as gay while the show was still airing:
“I was a young closeted actor having his first taste of a little success and unfortunately, in my mind, my lucky break was inextricably tied to me thinking that I had to stay in the closet in order to keep moving forward. When it comes to nights like tonight and honors like this, I’m consumed with what I didn’t do. I know I should’ve come out sooner and I’m sorry for that. Especially when I think about the possibility that I might have made a difference in someone’s life. I would probably be able to sleep a lot better than I do if I had acted sooner, but such is life. We learn our lessons only when we are ready.”
I was one of those who was annoyed at Hayes’ refusal to discuss his orientation—he kept playing the ‘I don’t talk about my private life’ card—but I have come to my senses a bit.
While it would have been nice that he’d come out while the show aired, we all come out when and how we choose and for me, or anyone, to judge Sean Hayes for his choices isn’t fair.
Hillary Clinton, at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, to Rudy Giuliani, who said she had lied about being at the World Trade Center on 9/11, until a photo showed up of the two of them together on that day:
“We’ve got the honorable Chuck Schumer, the honorable Andrew Cuomo, the honorable Mike Bloomberg, the honorable Bill de Blasio, the honorable David Dinkins, and so many other elected officials — and we have Rudy Giuliani. Many don’t know this but Rudy actually got his start as a prosecutor going after wealthy New Yorkers who avoided paying taxes. But as the saying goes, ‘if you can’t beat ’em, go on FOX News and call ’em a genius.'”
Rudy was not amused.
Rudy is never amused, or amusing.
Trevante Rhodes, star of the film Moonlight, on the impact the film is having and on his experience playing a gay man:
“[Moonlight] talks about a subject matter that is so prevalent today. Being a black man in American is relatively difficult right now, being a gay man in America is incredibly difficult and so being a black, gay man … can be perceived as the worst possible thing right now. So it is something that we need, that the world needs, and I’m thinking it’s a beautiful thing that people are receiving it. I didn’t think we were ready for something like that. And it’s really surprising and really refreshing to me to see that people are. ... I was born loving women but I easily could have been born loving men. It’s the exact same sensation… You don’t fall in love with someone [just] for their physical [traits], but for their mental. It was really just about me it was really just falling in love with the person that [my co-star] André Holland is. I respect him, I love him for the father figure he is. ... As actors and directors, I feel like our job, more so than anything else, is to shine a light on a subject and to let people know that they’re not alone.”
The march goes on, and with advocates like Trevante Rhodes on our side, it will get better.
Gus Kenworthy, Olympic freeskier, about his first year as an out gay man:
“I am gay. … I remember waking up that day, with the most overwhelming sense of emotions. I was excited for a future where I no longer had to mask myself with heteronormative posturing. But then, of course, I felt apprehensive because I didn’t know how people were going to react. I’d already told my immediate family and a few close friends and they all offered nothing but love and support and I decided that even if the rest of the world abandoned me, their support would be enough. … What I didn’t anticipate though, was all that I was about to gain. … I’ve started to love myself, a big step for someone who spent their adolescence in self-contempt. I’ve made lifelong friends, fallen in love and felt truer and happier than I ever imagined. I’ve witnessed myself swell with pride while holding my guy’s hand walking down the street; no longer dictated by fear to walk with my hands in my pockets acting like the person I loved was merely a friend, an acquaintance. I got to ski completely unencumbered and ended up having my best competitive season ever because of it. And while competing I got to, finally, acknowledge my boyfriend standing at the bottom of the half-pipe cheering me on; something I regrettably failed to do in my previous 5-year-long closeted relationship. Ultimately, for the first time in my life, I got to feel free — something everybody should feel every day! … I get messages every day from guys saying my story has helped them come to terms with themselves or given them the confidence to tell their friends or family that they’re gay. And that, I have to say, has been the highlight of my past year. Of course there will always be nay-sayers but if I’ve helped even one person feel better about themselves then this process, for me, has all been worth it.”
As I like to say, when one of us comes out it helps all of us living in the darkness to step closer to the light.