opening up

Actor Fernando Dente gets very candid about his sexuality

 

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Argentine actor Fernando Dente has opened up about his hurdles as a gay actor and his internal struggle with his own sense of homophobia.

Dente, 32, rocketed to fame in the Argentine incarnation of Disney’s High School Musical series. He first beat out 26,000 applicants to win High School Musical: La Selección, Star Search-type reality show competition to find the new leads for the Latin American version of High School Musical. With his win, he followed up in High School Musical: El Desafío, playing the equivalent of the role of Troy, the character made famous in the United States by Zac Efron.

Since his stint with the High School Musical series, Dente has enjoyed fame touring in a South American production of Kinky Boots. As a promotion for the stage play, he sat down with radio journalist Catalina Dlugi to discuss the show. Over the course of the conversation, he also revealed his  ongoing battle with internalized homophobia.

Related: Drag queen son of Argentina’s new president wears Pride Flag to inauguration

“We all grew up in a society with mandates, thoughts, prejudices, being part of the minority does not exempt you from having been raised in this society,” Dente explained. “I’m gay and I have homophobic thoughts, what I do is discover them and to say ‘this is absurd,’ deep in my head there is a thought that does not make sense.”

“Any person who runs away from that norm is much more exposed and without doing anything, simply being who he is, ends up being criticized,” he elaborated. “I like being on this side of the line and being who I am, not having to speak with synonyms and say that my boyfriend is my boyfriend and not a friend.”

 

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For Dente, that mindset also allowed him insight into Charlie, his character in Kinky Boots. 

“The backbone of the story is being able to be who you are,” Dente said. “It’s something that sounds very cheesy and very pink, but it’s something that moved me a lot every time I saw the work.”

“When you see how all the characters end up accepting themselves, and each other… It’s something that is very close to the surface in society right now: new ways of expressing oneself, new identities, and even new ways of calling oneself are appearing all the time. So tolerance is very necessary today, and really putting yourself in a position to say: well, maybe I don’t know everything I think I know. We are going to see what is the best way to live together and be able to understand each other.”

Well said. Fernando Dente came out publicly in 2018. In 2020, he introduced his boyfriend, actor Nicolás Di Pace, to the world. Since then the pair have maintained an active social media presence in addition to their acting careers.

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