ByJack Carr, writer at Creators.co
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.
Jack Carr

Sometimes it's difficult even to say to yourself "I am gay," and harder still to say it to the world, so hats off to Teen Wolf star Charlie Carver for having the courage to share his story on Instagram yesterday.

In a lengthy five-part message captioned "Be who you needed when you were younger," Carver addressed his sexuality publicly for the first time.

Pt 1: “Be who you needed when you were younger”. About a year ago, I saw this photo while casually scrolling through my Instagram one morning. I’m not one for inspirational quotes, particularly ones attributed to “Mx Anonymous”- something mean in me rebukes the pithiness of proverbs, choosing to judge them as trite instead of possibly-generally-wise, resonant, or helpful. And in the case of the good ol’ Anonymous kind, I felt that there was something to be said for the missing context. Who wrote or said the damn words? Why? And to/for who in particular? Nonetheless, I screen-capped the picture and saved it. It struck me for some reason, finding itself likeable enough to join the ranks of the “favorites” album on my phone. I’d see it there almost daily, a small version of it next to my other “favorites”; I’d see it every time I checked into the gym, pulled up a picture of my insurance cards, my driver’s license.... Important Documents. And over the course of about-a-year, it became clear why the inspirational photo had called out to me. As a young boy, I knew I wanted to be an actor. I knew I wanted to be a lot of things! I thought I wanted to be a painter, a soccer player, a stegosaurus... But the acting thing stuck. It was around that age that I also knew, however abstractly, that I was different from some of the other boys in my grade. Over time, this abstract “knowing” grew and articulated itself through a painful gestation marked by feelings of despair and alienation, ending in a climax of saying three words out loud: “I am gay”. I said them to myself at first, to see how they felt. They rang true, and I hated myself for them. I was twelve. It would take me a few years before I could repeat them to anyone else, in the meantime turning the phrase over and over in my mouth until I felt comfortable and sure enough to let the words pour out again, this time to my family...

A photo posted by Charlie Carver (@charliecarver) on

Starting off by saying that he generally finds proverbs like the one in the picture "trite, not helpful," Carver talks about how he struggled to come to terms with his situation as a kid.

It was around that age that I also knew, however abstractly, that I was different from some of the other boys in my grade. ... I said [the words "I am gay"] to myself at first, to see how they felt. They rang true, and I hated myself for them.

Thankfully it got easier for Charlie to accept his sexuality on a personal level as time passed, but as his career took off the struggles of being a gay actor were magnified...

The more I adjusted to living outwardly in this truth, the better I felt ... [but] I had a duty to stay a Possibility in the eye of casting, directors and the public ... I feared I would be limiting myself to a type.

It sucks that any actor should feel they have to be "believably straight" in order to carry on getting work, as if a gay man playing straight is any more difficult a pill to swallow than straight playing gay.

Carver also addresses the fact that, in 2016, "coming out" shouldn't have to be a thing that happens, but concedes that some kids just need a role model.

While my coming out was very important for me, I wanted to live in a world where one's sexuality was irrelevant ... I am a proud gay man, but I don't identity as a Gay Man, and I didn't want to be defined by my sexuality.

Happily, the message concludes on a more uplifting note.

Let the record show this: I self-identify as gay ... As a young man, I needed a young man in Hollywood to say that ... I owe it to myself to be who I needed when I was younger. Happy 2016, and all the best to you and yours in the year ahead.

You can read all five of the messages in full on Charlie Carver's Instagram, and you can catch him and twin brother Max in HBO's The Leftovers.

Check out the Season 2 trailer below:

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