Getting Real

Matt Bomer says coming out “cost me certain things in my career”

Bomer on ‘Glee’

Actor Matt Bomer, known for his roles in White Colar, American Horror Story and Magic Mike, among others, just got unusually candid when discussing the effect coming out as gay had on his career. In short, he admits that it did damage him in some ways.

While discussing his role in The Boys in the Band with Attitude, Bomer detailed how opportunities for openly-queer actors have changed in recent years. Bomer came out in 2012, revealing that he’d married his husband Simon Halls the year before.

“There are definitely more opportunities for gay actors than ever before, but there’s still a price to pay for being out,” Bomer told the magazine. “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. But without a question, there’s a tradeoff, in my experience.”

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“I came out at a time when it was very risky to do so,” Bomer elaborates “I had a studio film that was about to premiere, and a television series coming out. But to me it was more important to be my most authentic self, both for my family, and for myself. 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.”

Bomer doesn’t elaborate on the substance of that cost, though we can assume it disqualified him from certain opportunities as an actor. He has, however, continued to work constantly since 2012.

Coming out also helped Bomer land his upcoming part in The Boys in the Band, a role which he played on Broadway in 2018. The stage version and subsequent film are notable for featuring an all-openly gay cast. 

For Bomer, doing the play and film offered a refreshing experience. “It was such a freeing experience to get to tell a story with an entirely gay ensemble and creative team,” Bomer opines. “There are often times on set where I am the only openly gay person there, and I’ve learned 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.”

The Boys in the Band arrives on Netflix September 30.