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Civil Rights Ambassador / Civil Rights Advocate, Equality Fighter & Strong Advocate In Political Causes. That Need Our Attention This Very Moment & Our Over All Future As Humans That We Must Start Giving Back. I Have Been Enlightened & Learning Everyday Of My Life & Now It Has Been My Turn To Help Others Be Enlightened. Maybe Not Have To Go Thru Many Of The Things I Have Had To, My LGBT Generation Has Had To Go Thru, Bring Change…
Gay rights activists have long pushed for closeted gays and lesbians to come out of the closet and cease hiding their sexuality from friends, family and co-workers. Owning up to one's sexual identity in public would strike a blow for mental health, advocates argue, while also helping to remove lingering social stigmas and stereotypes that have conspired to keep gays in the closet. So when a prominent gay actor advises other gay actors to remain closeted, the message probably won't be embraced warmly by the "come out" crowd.
Yes, Richard Chamberlain -- perhaps best known for his role in the 80s miniseries "The Thorn Birds" and the 60s television series "Dr. Kildare" -- was asked by The Advocate's Brandon Voss on the status of fellow gay actors who have not yet come out. Chamberlain said the issue was "complicated" one, but went on to advise secretly homosexual actors to keep their sexuality, well, a secret.
"There's still a tremendous amount of homophobia in our culture. It's regrettable, it's stupid, it's heartless, and it's immoral, but there it is," said Chamberlain, who currently stars as the HIV-positive love interest of a male character on ABC's "Brothers & Sisters." "For an actor to be working is a kind of miracle, because most actors aren't, so it's just silly for a working actor to say, 'Oh, I don't care if anybody knows I'm gay' -- especially if you're a leading man. Personally, I wouldn't advise a gay leading man—type actor to come out."
The 76-year-old Chamberlain came out of the closet himself just seven years ago, in a memoir titled "Shattered Love." Chamberlain wrote that he was coming out now rather than at an earlier point in his career because he was now free to "talk about it now because I'm not afraid any more. I am not a romantic leading man any more, so I don't need to nurture that public image any more."
He isn't the only one in Hollywood who feels this way.
"I think it can be a commercially devastating thing," Weiner said at a luncheon. "The viability of you as a character -- no matter how good an actor you are -- can be jeopardized by this. We struggle with it -- obviously, it's wrong. It shouldn't be that way."
At the time he disclosed his homosexuality, Harris said that he was "happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love." Harris currently portrays a straight male serial womanizer on the CBS hit comedy, "How I Met Your Mother."
Indeed, when The Lookout contacted Michael Signorile -- a gay writer and radio host who's been a leader of the coming out movement -- he cited Harris' coming out as a success story. He wrote:
It's always a good thing when someone comes out. But Chamberlain is from a different era, an old Hollywood of lies and deception when it came to homosexuality and other issues, and he is still trying to reconcile and rationalize his lying. Today there are many openly gay actors and performers, from Ellen DeGeneres to Neil Patrick Harris, who are doing just fine -- in fact seeing their careers booming as openly gay individuals. And they will tell you they couldn't do it any other way. Chamerlain should not be telling anyone to live a lie and thankfully, with the media and the bloggers more willing to report the truth, that is becoming increasingly difficult. Let's hope it becomes impossible.