Garrett Clayton opens up about coming out: “I just felt like, ‘OK, I’m finally ready to do this’”
I have so much respect and admiration for Garrett Clayton as an actor and as a person.
I’ve seen him in movies and live in dramatic plays and musicals and this young man is talented! He’s also, as of last summer, an out and proud gay man.
He’s done his first in-depth post-coming out interview with Gay Times . He is candid and thoughtful. Below are some excerpts:
Garrett on his decision to come out publicly: “The decision to come out was finally feeling comfortable as me. I just felt like, ‘OK, I’m finally ready to do this’, and I think that’s the most important thing to take away from this is that everyone has to do it when they feel comfortable. If you let someone push you into something like this it can be harmful if you’re not ready. That’s something I experienced personally during King Cobra, where it felt like a lot of journalists wanted me to come out, but I wasn’t ready.”
Garrett on his family’s bad reaction to him coming out: “Before my dad moved to Florida I kind of had a meltdown and told him, and he just hated it. A month or two after that, when I was leaving my last day on the set of my first movie – which was a huge step for me, I was so excited – he freaked out because I was late. I came out to the car and he just started screaming at me, and it boiled up to him screaming at me about how he hated that I was gay, and he didn’t know what to do with me. It was this horrible gut-wrenching fight right after one of my first big accomplishments.
“My brother reacted badly when I told him, too. I don’t want to put him on blast, because he’s still my family, but I do feel that honesty in this situation is important. A few years ago, when same-sex marriage was legalised, my brother was furious, and he went online posting about how the American flag was gonna be a rainbow soon, like, ‘What’s happening to America?’ And I remember seeing that and thinking, ‘You have a gay brother, you idiot!’ So I went on his Facebook like, ‘So wait a minute, you’re telling me that there can be someone you care about in your life, who wants to impede nothing on yours, and just wants the same rights as you, and you would take that away from them?’ And then he blocked me. If my brother wants to reconnect with me, I welcome it wholeheartedly. I’m a big believer in people learning from their mistakes. But not every story gets a happy ending.”
Garrett on being told to act straight in order to make a career in Hollywood: “One of the first things somebody who was instrumental in starting my career did, they sat me
down and they said, ‘Are you gay?’ And I could feel the pressure of the question, so I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m gay, or bi, or whatever’, because suddenly I could feel that there was something
wrong with that in this person’s eyes. They looked at me and said, ‘No one wants to fuck the gay guy, they want to go shopping with him, so we’re going to have to figure this out.’ It turned into this situation where I’d get calls and they’d say, ‘You still need to butch it up’. I literally had to change everything about myself at that point, otherwise I was never gonna make it. And that was so conflicting, because here’s somebody offering you your dream, but they’re telling you that you’re not good enough the way you are. You’re talented, but who you are isn’t good enough. So they had me changing the way I walked, the way I spoke, the way I dressed, the way I answered questions. It got as petty as them saying, ‘People need to see that you’re into sports because they’ll think that’s more masculine, so why don’t you go buy a sports hat, take some pictures in it, and make sure people see you in it’.”
“There’d be calls after I went into casting offices like, ‘Hey, this is how gay casting thought you came across today, so here’s what you need to do to fix it’. I even had cast members screaming drunkenly in the middle of a room, ‘Who here thinks Garrett is gay?’ and then yelling at me for not having come out yet. I convinced myself that I was the problem, and I got into a really dark place for a couple of years. Then I went to therapy for about a year and a half to really sort through all the things I went through growing up and the situations I found myself in while in Hollywood. I got to work through all those conflicting things.”
Garrett on the debate of gay roles going to straight actors: “I’ve had trouble getting into rooms because people say, ‘Oh he’s not masculine enough’, but they’ll have a masculine straight man going in to play a feminine gay character. They’ll give him the chance, but they won’t give us the chance. So I think the whole point LGBTQ people are trying to make – and what I think people aren’t grasping – is that once the playing field is even, and we get the chance to go up for any type of role we want, then it’s fine, we can all play different parts. But until we’re all represented, and we get equal opportunity, that conversation isn’t gonna be started.”