Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Zachary Quninto 'Comes Out'

Zachary Quninto as Spock

I have to admit that I am a ‘trekkie’ at heart (as you have probably guessed from my closing of each blog). I have been since the first episodes appeared on television back in the ‘60’s. In fact, I watched the re-runs so often that I got to the point where I could not stand watching them anymore. To this day I can still remember the exact dialog from way too many episodes.

Over the years I have enjoyed the many Star Trek Movies and spin offs –but none of them ever fired me up as much as the original. Perhaps my initial infatuation was simply because I was so young at the time and part of my on-going devotion is a way of staying connected to my youth (how's that for psycho-babble?). Whatever the reasons, I still look forward to an evening escape into the “on-going mission to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where no one has gone before” (except, of course, in re-runs).

When the latest Star Trek movie came out I was anxious to see it, and was prepared to be “very forgiving” instead of disappointed because replacing the original characters (Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scott, etc..) just did not sound like it would work. When I watched the movie, I was very happy to find my apprehensions were not necessary. The casting of actors to play the “young characters starting out on the Enterprise” could not have been better. And perhaps the best in the lot was casting Zachary Quinto as the young Mr. Spock. He fit the bill perfectly. The script and the explanation of his early life were great and he even physically looked just as you would expect Spock to look at that young age.

I have been casually following Zachary Quinto’s career since Star Trek, partially because I was hoping for another Star Trek movie (yes, there is one that starts filming in January) but also because I found him to be a very talented actor. He has his own production company and he writes and produces as well as acts. He has now decided to “come out” by aknowledging that he is gay. By itself, that is not particularly surprising. A lot of actors and actresses are becoming comfortable enough to be themselves, openly, without too much fear that it will damage their careers. That's because these days American society is far more tolerant and understanding then it was even just 20 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, hatred, prejudice and bigotry still exist out there making “coming out” still risky, but, fortunately, the Neanderthals that still harbor those attitudes are on their way to extinction.

What I did find very interesting was “why” Zachary (if I can call him that) was inspired to come out. He said it was after feeling "indescribable despair" by the tragic suicide of a bullied gay teenager. He spoke publicly for the first time about his sexuality in an interview with New York Magazine, confirming long running speculation about his choice of lifestyle by referring to himself as "a gay man."

Now Quinto has revealed that he was so "deeply troubled" by the death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer last month that he was prompted to live his life more openly so he can use his voice to campaign for equal rights for all.

In a post on his blog, Quinto refers to an anti-bullying public service announcement he shot in 2010, writing, "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."

He continues, "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."

If I was a fan of Zachary Quinto before, his willingness to stand up for his beliefs has made me a bigger one now. I think, perhaps, his taking this stand will, in fact, help some still afraid to just be themselves without feeling guilt or fear and to stand up to the inevitable bullying and bigotry that will only stop when it is confronted and exposed for the vile, hateful prejudice it truly is. If his "coming out" can help stop even one tragic suicide it will be worth any risk he may be taking by doing it. Bravo, Zachary. Mr. Spock would have approved.

Live Long and Prosper....

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