In a powerful YouTube video, The Walking Dead‘s Daniel Newman came out to his fans shortly after posting to Twitter on Thursday evening.
You may also recognize the actor, who plays Daniel on AMC’s hit series, from roles in Heroes, Homeland, 7th Heaven, One Tree Hill, and The Vampire Diaries.
— Daniel Newma? (@DanielNewman) March 30, 2017
While working at a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth, Newman decided to come out after a girl approached him and thanked him for all of his charitable work as a straight ally.
“Why have you never said that publicly before?” she asked, after he told her he way gay. “You could help change lives.”
He describes the formative moment in detail:
It hit me like a gut punch. It felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me. I realized how important it is in this day and age to be visible; have people know who you are…When you are accomplishing incredible things and you are hiding who you are, you are hurting hundreds of millions of people….
By us staying quiet, we’re partially to blame for kids getting beat up and ridiculed, stereotypes and stigmas….I grew up in an Irish Catholic family, a farm town in Georgia in the South, and it wasn’t even about homophobia or anything; you just keep your private life private. So that’s the way I’ve always been. But now is no the time any longer to keep it private.
“I’m an actor,” Newman says. “The whole world, the industry, is like ‘here’s your big break, you’re on The Walking Dead, you can’t come out, you can’t be in the press, because everything you work so hard for is going to be gone.”
“There’s no gay or bi leading men, no action heroes, your career’s going to be over.’ I don’t care. Because I know what’s right.”
Watch the moving video below: