Sean Hayes is often celebrated as a homosexual trailblazer in Hollywood, bringing to life the hilarious and unashamedly queer Jack McFarland in “Will& Grace.” But Hayes’ own came to see you tale reflects a dark side of the LGBTQ experience fans don’t always get to see from his character on the make NBC sitcom.
In a new interview with People publication, Hayes opened up about his mother’s rejection upon learning her son was lesbian at 18 years old. “It was 1988 when I came out, ” he explained. “It’s so cliche that it was during Thanksgiving weekend.”
“My mom said I needed to go find a therapist, ” he continued. “She wrote me a 10 -page letter, both sides on legal pad-size newspaper. ‘This is not what God’ — you know, the whole uneducated view of it.”
Hayes had suspected his family may not take the news well. He’d even hidden the fact that he performed in high school plays from his brothers, fearful its membership in drama club would out him as “different.”
“Theater was for homosexuals, and “its all for” sissies, and things like that, ” Hayes said. “Things that you were taught to be ashamed of.”
Fortunately in the decades since, Hayes’ mom came around to accepting him for who he is.
“She became trained and had friends who[ were] lesbian people, ” Hayes told People. “She was like, ‘Oh I ensure. You’re just like me, ’and all that. It became fine and wonderful, and then she became so supportive and awesome.”
Hayes’ evolving relationship with his mommy mirrors a societal change for the better on LGBTQ issues. 57% percent of mothers today say they would not be upset if their child came out as lesbian — that’s up from 9 % in 1985, according to Pew Research.
But how intersectional and all-inclusive has that progress really been felt across the community?
Although Americans’ perception of fag people has changed remarkably throughout the past decade overall, there’s still a lot work to be done — particularly when it comes to the other letters beyond simply “L” and G” in LGBTQ.
While marriage equality has been legalized nationwide along with the expansion of same-sex adoption, the blowback to such progress has been alarming, often harming the most vulnerable sectors within the fag community .
Hate crimes targeting transgender people, for example — and in particular, trans women of coloring — are on the rise, according to FBI statistics released in November. Research indicates half of transgender people will experience sexual violence at some phase in their lives; a figure far higher than the general population. Significant stigma remains for bisexual men and women as well — people who routinely insure their identities sexualized, questioned, and erased.
The Trump administration continues to undermine advance for the LGBTQ community — more than it already has. Trump rescinded bathroom protections for trans students in schools, surrounded himself with homophobic and transphobic officers with huge sway over policy, and emboldened anti-LGBTQ movements across the world.
But to Hayes, who’s currently starring in the revived “Will& Grace” series on NBC, it’s important to remember things have get better.
A more all-inclusive world entails more positive coming out experiences for LGBTQ kids everywhere.
“If you don’t have the words to explain[ your sexuality] to your family, you can say,’ Like, ‘Will& Grace, ’ or ‘Like Ellen DeGeneres, ‘” he said. “There’s so many more examples now to help people and give them tools to communicate to children and their families that being gay is as normal as being straight.”
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