Most of the entertainment industry buzz today is surrounding Zachary Quinto and the fact that he outed himself in an interview with New York magazine. Since reactions move with lightning speed on the Internet, things quickly progressed from "OMG, Zachary Quinto's gay?" to "OMG, why is anyone talking about the fact that Zachary Quinto's gay? FOR SHAME, THIS SHOULDN'T EVEN BE NEWS!"
I totally understand the point of view that someone's sexuality shouldn't be big news, and if writing an article about him is the wrong thing to do, I'm sorry. It's just that I wanted to bring some attention to the words he shared about his decision to come out, because I found them incredibly moving.
While Quinto's sexuality hasn't exactly been a big Hollywood secret, he's been pretty clear in the past that he'd rather focus on his advocacy for gay rights than his personal life. Last year he told the New York Times,
The fact that these things are such hot-button issues right now, socially and politically, I would much rather talk about that than talk about who I sleep with. I would love to be a voice in this maelstrom of chaos and obsessive celebrity infatuation that says, ‘Let’s talk about something that matters.’
So it was a bit surprising to some people when he seemed to casually refer to himself as a gay man to New York magazine recently. Quinto was talking about his role in the Broadway play "Angels In America," in which he plays a gay man who leaves his AIDS-afflicted boyfriend. He said,
Doing that play made me realize how fortunate I am to have been born when I was born. And to not have to witness the decimation of an entire generation of amazingly talented and otherwise vital men. And at the same time, as a gay man, it made me feel like I -- there's still so much work to be done. There's still so many things that need to be looked at and addressed.
In the interview Quinto also mentioned the recent suicide of bullied gay teen Jamey Rodemeyer, saying "as a gay man I look at that and say there's a hopelessness that surrounds it."
Last night, Quinto posted a blog entry on his own website that explained some of the thinking that had led him to publicly announcing his orientation:
In light of [Rodemeyer's] death - it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it - is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality. I believe in the power of intention to change the landscape of our society - and it is my intention to live an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action. Jamey Rodemeyer's life changed mine. And while his death only makes me wish that I had done this sooner - I am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me.
To me, the power of what he's saying goes beyond the issue of sexuality—when I read those words I am touched by the passion in his belief, and the bravery of choosing to be vulnerable. Gay or straight, who among us isn't striving for a life of authenticity? How many of us would be willing to so publicly state our intent to live with compassion, integrity, and action? I imagine the hard work it took for him to get to this place, and the courage it took to say it, and I am deeply inspired.
In an industry that's so often focused on surface pursuits, I think Zachary Quinto is an absolutely amazing man who should be commended not for disclosing the details of his personal life, but for taking an enormously difficult step to make a difference in the lives of others.
Also, I have to say it: I kind of have an even bigger crush on Spock now.
Image via Flickr/watchwithkristin