Out actor Greg Rikaart would love to have his character on “The Young and the Restless” be gay too
Greg Rikaart certainly made an impression at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in New Orleans 10 days ago where he was honored with the Visibility Award.
But he’s been making a splash for more than 10 years on The Young and the Restless as Kevin Fisher, a role that won him a Daytime Emmy in 2005.
It was a year ago that Greg came out publicly as a gay man and now his soap character is single. Could his TV alter ego also be gay?
That’s up to the writers on the CBS which has dabbled with gay characters in recent years then quickly retreated.
Rikaart tells michaelfairmansoaps.com: ‘Frankly, I think it’s far more interesting to do that with a character that the fans already know than to bring on a gay character that no one knows of. The fans view the characters like family. So if there is a “family” member that suddenly revealed something about themselves that no one knew about before, it mirrors what happens in real life. I think the powerfulness of that message to the audience of this show would be way more profound than just introducing a new character that just happens to be gay. The audience would go on the same journey that a family member would go on.’
The actor believes that making the character gay could provide even more great drama for the show because you could portray ‘different points of view from people in Kevin’s life.’
‘Maybe there is a character that doesn’t support it, and has a tough time with it, because there will inevitably be people in the viewing audience who can relate to that character and that character could take the journey of understanding and full acceptance, and love and support. In turn, that could help someone in our audience that might need that kind of guidance.’
But Rikaart is not aware of any talks of making Kevin gay.
‘If it’s not a story they want to tell, then they are not going to tell it. I don’t think it’s the only avenue that Kevin could go down, but it certainly would be interesting … in my opinion.’
As for his own coming out, Rikaart had been out in his personal life but waited until the age of 36 to do so publicly.
He shares a little but about why.
‘I had someone who was a casting director say to me drunkenly at a party that she would never knowingly cast a gay actor in a straight role. So there is absolutely a fear for self-preservation.’
But as he became more active in LGBT causes, it became about more than career.
‘… You get to a point where you grow up and mature, and you realize that you have more confidence in what your value is, and what you bring to the table. And for me, personally, my life is about more than my job, or my career. I think being an actor and an activist are two things that are important to me, and rather than see the two of them in conflict with one another, I am going to make them work for one another. Things that I say politically, or to further the Equal Rights Movement, have more weight because of what I do professionally and what my career is. Again, rather than have those two things fight each other, I decided I wanted to have a way to have the two of them work together and so far … so good.’
He says reaction has been ‘overwhelming positive’ from Y&R fans.
‘There are a few people who would like to hide behind their religion as a veil for their bigotry. But for the most part, people are, and have been incredibly supportive. I am really glad that I did it.’