On This Gay Day: Actor Daniel Franzese came out

The Mean Girls actor came out via an online letter 

On this day on 2014 actor Daniel Franzese shared that he was gay via an letter published in IndieWire.

At the time the actor was best known for playing gay teenager Damian on the eternally popular film Mean Girls. Franzese came out by writing a letter to the iconic character he played a decade earlier.

Franzese wrote about how it meant a lot to him to play a gay character that “the audience laughed with rather than at“, how Hollywood typecast him into flamboyant, stereotypical gay roles

The letter read in part:

“You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor.  You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. I might’ve been easier to be gay growing up.

“When I was cast in the role of “Damian” in ‘Mean Girls,’ I was TERRIFIED to play this part.  But this was a natural and true representation of a gay teenager – a character we laughed with instead of at.

“When I first became an actor, I wanted to play lots of roles – Guidos, gangsters and goombahs were my specialty.  So, would I be able to play all of those parts after portraying a sensitive, moisturizing, Ashton Kutcher-loving, pink-shirt-wearing kid?  I was optimistic.  Hollywood?  Not so much.  I was meeting a “gay glass ceiling” in casting.

“It wasn’t until years later that grown men started to coming up to me on the street – some of them in tears – and thanking me for being a role model to them. Telling me I gave them comfort not only being young and gay but also being a big dude. It was then that I realized how much of an impact YOU had made on them.

“Now in 2014 – ten years later – looking back, it took YOU to teach me how to be proud of myself again.  It’s okay if no one wants to sit at the table with the “art freaks.”  Being a queer artist is one of my favorite things about myself.

“My friends and family all knew the truth but now it’s time everyone does. Perhaps this will help someone else.”

Since 2014 Franzese has had a another high-profile queer role, he joined the cast of the TV show Looking playing HIV positive character Eddie. In 2015 he became a spokesperson for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

Subsequently he has appeared on the TV series Conviction and been a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.


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