Zachary Quinto Came Out Partially Because Of Jamey Rodemeyer’s Suicide

It turns out that Heroes and Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto‘s recent coming out happened in part because of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and the bullycide of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer.

You may recall that Quinto dedicated his somber “It Gets Better” video to the senseless and heartbreaking bullycides of Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase, and countless other kids who could no longer endure any more hatred and ridicule.

Today on his personal blog, Quinto explained that Rodemeyer’s suicide made him question the impact any person can have on LGBT rights, when living in the closet.

when i found out that jamey rodemeyer killed himself – i felt deeply troubled. but when i found out that jamey rodemeyer had made an it gets better video only months before taking his own life – i felt indescribable despair. i also made an it gets better video last year – in the wake of the senseless and tragic gay teen suicides that were sweeping the nation at the time. but in light of jamey’s death – it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it – is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality.

our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country. gay kids need to stop killing themselves because they are made to feel worthless by cruel and relentless bullying. parents need to teach their children principles of respect and acceptance. we are witnessing an enormous shift of collective consciousness throughout the world. we are at the precipice of great transformation within our culture and government. i believe in the power of intention to change the landscape of our society – and it is my intention to live an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action.

jamey rodemeyer’s life changed mine. and while his death only makes me wish that i had done this sooner – i am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me. now i can only hope to serve as the same catalyst for even one other person in this world. that – i believe – is all that we can ask of ourselves and of each other.

And in the New York Magazine interview where he came out, Quinto also attributed his recent thinking on LGBT politics in part to playing Louis Ironson in Tony Kushner’s “gay fantasia with national themes” Angels in America. In the play, Quinto portrayed a 1985 Jewish New Yorker who abandons his AIDS-afflicted partner and begins sleeping with a closeted, married Republican Mormon. Ironson eventually repents for his unjust cruelty, but his transformation helps form some of the play’s bigger political and moral questions.

Quinto told New York Magazine:

Doing that play made me realize how fortunate I am to have been born when I was born. And to not have to witness the decimation of an entire generation of amazingly talented and otherwise vital men. And at the same time, as a gay man, it made me feel like I — there’s still so much work to be done. There’s still so many things that need to be looked at and addressed. The undercurrent of that fear and that, you know, insidiousness still is swarming. It’s still all around us….

But Quinto came out late in the interview when connecting the Occupy Wall Street riots to Rodemeyer’s death (emphasis ours):

… I think it’s a really tenuous time for our country. I don’t know what will happen going into this election year. It seems like the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street — there’s such tremendous disparity right now. It’s like, you have the legalization of gay marriage in the state of New York and three months later you have Jamey Rodemeyer killing himself, yet another gay teenager bullied into taking his own life. And, you know, again, as a gay man, I look at that and say there’s a hopelessness that surrounds it. But as a human being, I look at it and say, “Why? Where is this disparity coming from and why can’t we as a culture, as a society, dig deeper to examine it?” We’re terrified of facing ourselves, we’re terrified of what we’ll find and so, instead, we seem to waste time and energy with small-mindedness and intolerance and with bigotry and with hatred and with fear.

Quinto provides a fresh face and an eloquent voice in the continuing fight for LGBT rights. And while we will undoubtedly face further heartbreak on the road to full equality, we will also experience many small but heart-lifting moments like when we see anti-LGBT ballot measures fail, save the lives of bullied children, and empower other LGBTs to begin living life as their open, honest selves.

Image via preloc and kanar