Zachary Quinto’s coming out as gay on October 16th has been seriously underplayed by the media. The blogs and news outlets have all picked up and commented on the story, but none of them seem to have fully grasped the fact that this is a seminal moment in Hollywood and gay history. For the first time, a major movie star, an action hero as well as a romantic leading man, has admitted his homosexuality.
"In light of Jamey's death," Quinto posted on his website referring to the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old gay student in New Jersey, "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".
By coming out of the closet, Quinto has not only done something of great significance for the entertainment industry and the gay people within it, he has committed to using his voice to fight on behalf of LGBT teenagers who don't have a voice -- teens like Jamey who need others who are more visible to serve as role models to give them strength and hope.
Quinto deserves a lot of credit for his decision; it required a lot of courage, as he has decided to buck the trend of the entire establishment and put saving the lives of gay youth ahead of his own self-interests (making money and being famous), which is what most celebrities in Hollywood choose instead.
While this is an important and unprecedented moment in entertainment that we should all celebrate, we must also not allow ourselves to become complacent. Quinto's revelation is just the start of the final showdown between whether things are going to change, or the status quo is going to remain in place. Some Hollywood power players are rooting for his career to fail so they can keep other gay actors and actresses in the closet.
We must do everything we can to ensure that Quinto succeeds and that his career is not hindered in any way by his sexuality. We can start by seeing his new Wall Street thriller Margin Call, when it opens this Friday, October 21st. It’s absolutely vital that we turn out to see it in it's opening weekend since directors, producers, agents, managers, and studio execs will be watching closely to see how the movie performs in the aftermath of Quinto's coming out.
If the film does well, it will go a long way to dispel the myth that casting an openly gay man in a starring role will hinder box office prospects. If the movie does badly, the Hollywood establishment will use it as evidence that they were right all along, and we simply cannot allow them to do that.
We cannot allow this historic moment to be squandered by the cynics. This is a battle between hope and fear. And we must never allow fear to win.
Quinto's coming out is by no means the end of the journey. There are many stars who have yet to come out, and we have yet to see a young out gay actor succeed from the very beginning.
Zachary Quinto is a trailblazer, and this is our chance to help him make the huge difference that we've all been waiting for.
For Margin Call information, trailer, theatres and tickets go here.