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Chandler Massey: “The gay storyline doesn’t feel groundbreaking anymore. It feels normal. And I like that”

It’s become impossible to post Days of Our Lives clips but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been watching the NBC soap each day with an eye on the storylines involving Will Horton (Chandler Massey), Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith) and Paul Narita (Christopher Sean).

I’ve long been a fan of Chandler, the winner of three Emmy awards for his portrayal of Will, and found him to be a classy young man any time I’ve interviewed him.

A few months ago, Chandler was honored by Human Rights Campaign in Atlanta. During his speech the actor talked about his openly gay soap character, what it has taught him and what it has meant to him.

Here are some excerpts from text of his speech and you can watch the video below:

I was determined to the story justice, but I really didn’t give much thought to the impact that the story would have to anyone else’s life, but my own. Thankfully that egocentric thinking was short lived. If you’re familiar at all with soap operas you know that they are largely – they largely built their success on entertaining escapism, stories that are so complex and extraordinary that they rarely if ever happen to anyone in real life.

Historically, they have claimed a conservative and an aging demographic as their audience, which incentivizes stories they don’t try to get too progressive or too political. Will Horton’s coming out story defied both of those norms though. The writings staff at Days created something real, nuanced and powerful that the director – the directors they drew raw human emotion from the actors and tolerated zero stereotypes. The producers on the show consistently made bold choices and refuse to cal too you know potentially significant ratings backlash. This was not an after school special. This was – this was an unfiltered story about a young man struggling to come to terms with an integral part of himself and it was a story that was so under-represented in Daytime television that we had honestly no idea, how – how it would be received.

We were not preaching to the choir at all. You know we were changing the minds of the people who you know were maybe a little resistant to the idea of equality and the message of it and we didn’t stop there. Days of Our Lives then aired the first gay kiss in Daytime television history, the first gay sex scene. The first gay – the first gay marriage and right – right now we’re in the middle of a of a gay love triangle and we’re all sleeping with each other and – and who knows we might – we might be airing the first gay – you know three – three way in the Daytime television history, like fingers crossed. You know like – but over this – over this period, you know this – the gay storyline doesn’t really feel – it doesn’t feel groundbreaking anymore. It feels normal. And I like that.

I think that’s a testament to the progress that we’ve made. Yeah. But in – but in truth my opportunity to play Will Horton was anything but normal. I’m so proud to have been a part of the story because I think it represents true progress and by being here with you guys tonight you know it’s clear that if we stay committed to this incredible movement for equality that progress will endure and will build.

FILE UNDER: Days of Our Lives


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