Words: Will Stroude
Matt Bomer has admitted that coming out as gay publicly “cost” him career opportunities in Hollywood – but that it was worth it in order for him to live as his “authentic self”.
The US actor, who is among the all-gay cast of Ryan Murphy’s upcoming Netflix remake of The Boys in the Band, maintains that there is still a “price to pay” for LGBTQ actors who come out publicly.
Matt Bomer as Donald in ‘The Boys in the Band’ (Photography: Scott Everett White)
“There are definitely more opportunities for gay actors than ever before – but there’s still a price to pay for being out”, says Bomer, who shares three children with husband Simon Halls, who he married in 2011.
“We’re living in a day and age where there are actors and athletes and public figures who are openly gay and have been unafraid to acknowledge that,” he continues.
“But without a question, there’s a tradeoff, in my experience.”
Bomer came out publicly in 2012, a year after marrying his husband. At the time, he was starring in US TV crime drama White Collar and was seeing his international profile increase with prominent roles in films including In Time and Magic Mike.
Matt Bomer starred in US TV crime series ‘White Collar’ from 2009-14
“I came out at a time when it was very risky to do so – I had a studio film that was about to premiere, and a television series coming out”, Bomer recalls. “But to me it was more important to be my most authentic self, both for my family, and for myself.”
He continues: “I wasn’t trying to be a role model, nor am I now, but I thought if it could help just one person, then it would be worth it.
“But to say that didn’t cost me certain things in my career would be a lie. It did.
The cast of ‘The Boys of the Band’ open up in a world exclusive interview in the Attitude October issue, out now
“To me that trade-off was worth it. But it hasn’t been some fairy tale — no pun intended.”
Bomer’s role in the film remake of Mart Crowley’s 1968 The Boys in the Band (which arrives on Netflix on 30 September) sees him join an all-gay line-up of stars including Zachary Quinto, Jim Parsons, Andrew Rannells and Charlie Carver.
The actor says the film’s queer-friendly environment was a liberating one, but not a common one.
(Photography: Scott Everett White)
“It was such a freeing experience to get to tell a story with an entirely gay ensemble and creative team,” says Bomer.
“There are often times on set where I am the only openly gay person there, and I’ve learnt how to manage that and do the work — but it was so nice to have this collective experience together and a shared sense of who we are, and who we want to be, and an understanding of each other.
“I think that really informed the work.”