Garret Clayton has opened up about his family’s negative reactions to him coming out as gay.
The former Disney star, who came out publicly and revealed his long-term relationship in August with an Instagram post, said his dad “just hated it” and his brother had blocked him on Facebook when he told them.
Clayton, who rose to fame in the Disney Channel’s TV film Teen Beach, told Gay Times: “Before my dad moved to Florida I kind of had a meltdown and told him, and he just hated it.
“A month or two after that, when I was leaving my last day on the set of my first movie—which was a huge step for me, I was so excited—he freaked out because I was late.
“I came out to the car and he just started screaming at me, and it boiled up to him screaming at me about how he hated that I was gay, and he didn’t know what to do with me.
“It was this horrible gut-wrenching fight right after one of my first big accomplishments,” he added.
The 27-year-old, who has been appearing in films since 2008, said he made his sexuality clear to his brother in 2015, after he responded poorly to the Supreme Court legalising same-sex marriage across the US.
“My brother reacted badly when I told him, too,” said Clayton. “I don’t want to put him on blast, because he’s still my family, but I do feel that honesty in this situation is important.
“A few years ago, when same-sex marriage was legalised, my brother was furious, and he went online posting about how the American flag was gonna be a rainbow soon, like: ‘What’s happening to America?’
“And I remember seeing that and thinking: ‘You have a gay brother, you idiot!’” he recalled.
“So I went on his Facebook like: ‘So wait a minute, you’re telling me that there can be someone you care about in your life, who wants to impede nothing on yours, and just wants the same rights as you, and you would take that away from them?’
“And then he blocked me.
“If my brother wants to reconnect with me, I welcome it wholeheartedly. I’m a big believer in people learning from their mistakes. But not every story gets a happy ending,” added the star.
Clayton also said that when he arrived in Hollywood, he was told to act straight to get roles.
“They looked at me and said: ‘No one wants to f**k the gay guy, they want to go shopping with him, so we’re going to have to figure this out,’ he remembered.
“It turned into this situation where I’d get calls and they’d say: ‘You still need to butch it up.’ I literally had to change everything about myself at that point, otherwise I was never gonna make it.”
He recalled “cast members screaming drunkenly in the middle of a room: ‘Who here thinks Garrett is gay?’ and then yelling at me for not having come out yet.
“I convinced myself that I was the problem, and I got into a really dark place for a couple of years.”
He said this discrimination stretched to the type of roles he was offered, and emphasised that the backlash to straight people — like Jack Whitehall — playing gay parts was, for the moment, deserved.
“I’ve had trouble getting into rooms because people say, ‘Oh he’s not masculine enough,’ but they’ll have a masculine straight man going in to play a feminine gay character,” Clayton explained.
“They’ll give him the chance, but they won’t give us the chance.
“So I think the whole point LGBTQ people are trying to make – and what I think people aren’t grasping – is that once the playing field is even, and we get the chance to go up for any type of role we want, then it’s fine, we can all play different parts.
“But until we’re all represented, and we get equal opportunity, that conversation isn’t gonna be started.”
The November issue of Gay Times is out on October 31, and available for pre-order here.
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