“Coming out is the best thing any gay person will ever do.” – Sir Ian McKellen

“Coming out is the best thing any gay person will ever do.” – Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen has hailed the power and importance of gay people coming out and said that actors should not worry about it harming their career.

The actor made the comments as the host of the 2017 Stonewall Youth Awards – the same event he appeared at last year as a surprise guest.

“It is the best thing that any gay person will ever do,” Sir Ian said of coming out.

The Lord Of The Rings star added that he would love to have written on his tombstone when he dies: “Here lies Gandalf. He came out.”

Praising the young people who spend their time campaigning for LGBT rights, Sir Ian talked about the fears people face when coming out.IMG_4962

He said: “When coming out everyone is always frightened about somebody else, ‘What will my mother think?’ Actors think, ‘Will I ever work again if people know that I am gay?’ Yes, is the answer. It was only when I came out that I got cast as Gandalf and Magneto.”

Sir Ian noted that many people who were the first in their field to come out increased their popularity after doing so, citing rugby player Keith Keegan Hirst and MP Chris Smith.

“People like honesty, you know where you are when somebody comes out to you,” he said.

Most of the young campaigners at the awards were being recognised for their efforts to tackle discrimination in their schools and communities.

Sir Ian described Section 28, the law that prohibited the so-called “promotion” of homosexuality in schools, as “an attack on people your age, to keep you ignorant.”

He warned that the improvements in schools since the act’s repeal in 2003 could well be reversed if campaigners did not keep up their efforts.

“A quick change in mind in one direction presumably could be followed by a quick change in mind in another if we didn’t keep going on and shouting the odds and making the difference that we all want,” he said.

He added: “The exciting thing for you is that within the confines of your school, you can make the difference … in a matter of weeks, months, the atmosphere changes at the school. You are more modern than I, more sophisticated than I, luckier than me to see that perhaps labels … are not really what we need to cope with the world.MancPrideCREDStonewallUk-650x488

“Labels become irrelevant, you are what you are, I am what I am and you may not be discriminated against in your school and hopefully not in your country.”

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6 Comments

  1. Colossus
    May 17, 06:17 Reply

    Abeg if you’re a terrible actor, don’t deceive yourself ooo. Ian is a GREAT actor so lets be fair, it won’t hurt his chances that much.

  2. Mandy
    May 17, 07:14 Reply

    You have to attain a level of stardom and promise as an actor for your coming out to not hurt your career. See Jussie Smollett… Do you think he’d have come out when he did if he hadn’t been on Empire?

  3. himbo
    May 17, 08:09 Reply

    But he has never been cast in a romantic role ever.. He plays all these asexual characters..which fine for him but some people may aspire to more…

  4. Khaleesi
    May 17, 10:26 Reply

    This advice is obviously for actors who live in relatively tolerant societies to begin with … If you live in Naija and work in Nollywood, its an entirely different matter altogether. …

  5. Gad
    May 17, 13:30 Reply

    Ian ought to have put it this way, “In my opinion, I think the best thing for any gay man to do is to come out”. What works for A might not work for B. We are in different circumstances of life, different environments and we have different laws and temperaments

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