Zachary Quinto Opens Up About Why He Came Out in 2011

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday October 5, 2020

Zachary Quinto told the Variety podcast "The Big Ticket" that when he came to Hollywood in 1999, he didn't feel that he could be openly gay, and he worried about what it would mean for his career, the entertainment publication reports. Twelve years later, though - after having made a name for himself in the TV drama "Heroes" and then taking on the iconic role of Mr. Spock in JJ Abrams' cinematic "Star Trek" reboot - he came out.

Quinto explained why on the podcast.

"That was at a time when a lot of young gay kids were killing themselves around the country because of bullying," the 43-year-old actor recalled. "There was a huge spate of teen suicides that were happening."

Quinto went on to say, "I just felt like I had an obligation at this point. Having enjoyed a certain level of success, I felt like the hypocrisy was too much to bear for me to be enjoying this life that I had created for myself and not acknowledging my identity as a gay man.

"I felt like it was actively harming a group of young people who the choice to come out could benefit."

As EDGE reported at the time, Quinto publicly came out on his blog in 2011, after the suicide of a 14-year-old named Jamey Rodemeyer. Quinto wrote, "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."

Added Quinto: "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."

Whatever his fears might have been about how coming out would impact his prospects in Hollywood, coming out didn't slow Quinto down. His career continued at warp speed with two "Star Trek" movie sequels, stage work, and roles on two seasons of Ryan Murphy's "American Horror Story." Quinto and Murphy worked together again when the prolific TV writer-director-producer turned his attention to Broadway, bringing a revival of the 1968 play "The Boys in the Band" to the Great White Way, including Quinto among a cast of all-gay actors.

That same cast reprised their roles for a new movie version of "The Boys in the Band," which premiered at Netflix last week.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.