Sense8 actor Brian J Smith has publicly come out as gay, revealing he hid his sexuality from his family until he was 30.
The Tony Award-nominated star has opened up to Attitude magazine, revealing how “terrified” he was growing up gay in a small town in Texas.
“I was terrified,” he said. “At school I really couldn’t fit in anywhere. I wasn’t a jock or a nerd.
“Forget about any [LGBTIQ] union or groups. There was absolutely nothing. I was completely alone.
“I heard all the names: pussy, faggot.”
Smith said as a result of his childhood he was cautious about revealing his true self to those around him.
“I could never be who I was. I was constantly having to check myself and make sure I wasn’t looking at someone too long or making someone feel uncomfortable,” he said.
He turned to acting as an outlet for his frustration.
“I disappeared and became someone else. I had 600 students at school, all of whom probably thought I was an absolute idiot, a nerd.
“On stage, they paid attention to me, and they saw that I had something. And that’s when I didn’t feel alone.”
It wasn’t until his 30th birthday eight years ago that he felt comfortable enough to open up to loved ones. He said they welcomed him with open arms.
“I was surprised,” he recalled.
“When I came out to my parents they were wonderful. They said they were just waiting for me to say something.
“They were a lot more advanced than I gave them credit for.”
Brian J Smith has roles in ‘Sense8’ and ‘Treadstone’
Smith said his family’s support helped him deal with his personal anxieties. And when he started on cult Netflix sci-fi series Sense8 in 2015, he was fully at ease.
“I remember being so relaxed,” he said.
“I thought, ‘Finally, I can just be myself, I don’t have to put on airs for any of these people.'”
As for advice he would offer his younger self, he said, “I just would hug him and say ‘It’s okay.’
“What that kid needed was somebody to pick him up and say, ‘You’re perfect as you are. It’s okay.'”
Brian J Smith played police officer Will Gorski on Sense8, which Netflix sadly cancelled in 2017.
The series followed a group of strangers who suddenly become “sensates” and share a psychic bond.
After intense fan campaigning, Netflix produced a two-and-a-half-hour series finale which was released in June 2018.
Smith now has a role in the action series Treadstone, a spinoff of the Jason Bourne film franchise.
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