Back in August, Wentworth Miller came out as a gay man. He also came out as a 41 year old, which shocked more people than the gay thing. From what I could see, many of his fans had long ago assumed he was gay, but for those of us not paying attention, it was a moderate surprise and it seemed like Wentworth was praised for his honesty in most quarters. Personally, I liked that Wentworth “came out” in an open letter directed at Russia and the St. Petersburg International Film Festival, where he basically said that Russia’s new anti-homosexuality laws are awful and he doesn’t even want to go to Russia. Anyway, Wentworth was invited to speak at a Human Rights Campaign dinner in Seattle, and here’s what went down:
Wentworth Miller continues to show courage since coming out as gay in late August. The 41-year-old actor spoke at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner in Seattle Saturday, Sept. 7, revealing that he tried to commit suicide “more than once” as he struggled to come to terms with his sexuality.
“The first time I tried to kill myself I was 15. I waited until my family went away for the family and I was alone in the house and I swallowed a bottle of pills,” he revealed to a large audience. “I don’t remember what happened over the next couple of days but I’m pretty sure come Monday morning I was on the bus back to school pretending everything was fine.”
“Growing up I was a target. Speaking the right way, standing the right way, holding your wrist the right way. Every day was a test and there was a thousand ways to fail,” he said. “A thousand ways to portray yourself to not live up to someone else’s standards of what was accepted.”
The former Prison Break star also admitted that it made him nervous to come out early in his career. “I had multiple opportunities to speak my truth, which is that I was gay, but I chose not to. I was out privately to family and friends — publicly, I was not.” He continued: “I chose to lie — when I thought about the possibility of coming out, how that might impact me and the career I worked so hard for, I was filled with fear.”
In a brave statement, Miller finally came out of the closest in a letter to the organizers of the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia on Aug. 21. He reasoned that “in good conscience,” he could not attend an event in a country that has anti-gay laws, including a ban on adoption of Russian-born children to national and international same-sex couples.
I like that he admits to lying publicly about his sexuality and how he explains his reasoning. Maybe he was right – could he have come out as a gay man even a decade ago and still been on Prison Break? I don’t know. I think I’m a bad judge of what the general public would or will accept. Anyway, Wentworth’s speech made me sad this morning. So many LBGT kids attempt suicide. It gets better, kids.
Here’s a clip of Wentworth speaking at the event:
Photos courtesy of WENN.