In an emotional public statement, Thomas Dekker comes out as gay. The announcement follows a speech given by Bryan Fuller, who previously worked with the actor, in which he indirectly outs Dekker.
Thomas Dekker gained fame through television shows like 7th Heaven, Heroes, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It was during his time on Heroes that the young actor began to become the subject of rumors surrounding his sexuality.
In 2007, Thomas Dekker portrayed Zach on Heroes. At the time, writers decided to make Dekker’s character gay. But the actor wasn’t happy with the decision. The controversy eventually lead to Dekker’s character being written off the show.
In a 2011 interview with Out Magazine, Dekker recalls his reaction to the news that his character was gay, and why he was unhappy with it.
‘I went through the fucking roof!’ Dekker says. ‘If you’re going to have a gay character on your show come out and be a pioneer for kids, I would’ve liked to play that from the get-go from my perspective. I went to set and said to the writers, ‘I really wish that it wouldn’t have been five hours before I come into work that I get this news that [the character] I’d been playing for the last 12 episodes knows and is comfortable with the fact that he is gay. Because I would’ve played this very differently.’ But I said I’d do it, and then a couple hours later the creator, Tim Kring, showed up and said, ‘No, no, no. We’re going to change it [back to him being straight].’ ‘
But word had leaked already to several blogs that Dekker’s character would be coming out on the episode, so when it aired, ‘the story became, ‘Thomas Dekker is a homophobe’ or ‘Thomas Dekker is gay and uncomfortable playing it,’ ‘ he remembers. ‘I was like ‘How do people know this was supposed to be my coming-out episode when I didn’t even know it was?’ Then I found an interview the producers had given to a London paper while they were shooting the first episode, in which they said that my character was going to be gay. So they knew all along.’ The network and the show’s production didn’t refute false claims about Dekker’s refusal to play gay, and he stayed on for his remaining four episodes before taking on the role of John Connor on the Terminator-based series.
During the same interview, Dekker hinted at his sexuality, but never went as far as to label himself as gay.
“I’ve only really had relationships with women, but I’m certainly not closed to it. If there are possibilities of being able to do anything in life, why would you say you would never take any up? In the later chunk of my teen years I was so all over the place with sex. It was terrible. I never really had a real relationship at all. During puberty, it’s all about sex, and it’s all about figuring yourself out. I think I overdid it when I was younger.”
Fast-forward to earlier this month when Bryan Fuller was giving an acceptance speech at Outfest Los Angeles. During the speech, Fuller briefly mentions his time as writer and co-executive producer on Heroes, saying: “I had a brief stint on Heroes, where the gay character was het-washed… after the actor’s management threatened to pull him from the show if he, the character, not the actor, were gay. The character became straight, and the actor came out as gay.”
Although Fuller never specifically mentioned the actor’s name in the speech, it wasn’t difficult for everyone to figure out he talking about Dekker.
Even though the actor never officially came out at the time in question, a point on which Fuller was mistaken, Dekker did take the opportunity to come out as gay this week, calling it a “prime opportunity.”
The candid letter was originally posted on his Instagram account, before Dekker decided to share it on Twitter as well.
PLEASE READ 💛 pic.twitter.com/Uo5hM94Qp5
— Thomas Dekker (@theThomasDekker) July 14, 2017
“My sexual orientation once again came into question this week when a prominent gay man used an awards acceptance speech to “out” me. While he did not mention me by name, the explicit details of his reference made it easy for the public and media to connect the dots,” Dekker said in his emotional coming-out statement.
While publicly acknowledging his sexuality for the first time, Dekker also reveals that he’s a happily married gay man.
“While it is an odd situation, I thank him because it presents a prime opportunity for me to publicly say that I am indeed a man who proudly loves other men. In fact, this April, I married my husband and I could not be happier.”
In the rest of the statement, Dekker discusses his journey to accepting himself as a gay man, as well as the importance he places on coming out in his own words.
“I have never lied to the press about the fluidity of my sexuality but this man claiming that I came out is not true. Because I have not “officially” until this moment. I simply refuse to be robbed of the glorious joy that belongs to me. To say the words myself. “I’m gay”. Those words are a badge of honor that no one can steal.
“Sexuality and who you love is a deeply personal and complicated thing. For some of us, it takes time to cultivate, discover and conclude. It is not something anyone should ever be ashamed of and certainly not something anyone should be rushed into.
“I agree with many who believe it is an important responsibility for LGBTQ persons with a platform to come out. It has the power to change minds, challenge beliefs and make others feel understood and supported. It can strengthen the progression of our community and help disarm those who discriminate against us. It is a brave, powerful and important thing to do but it is also a deeply personal decision. One that should only be made when you are ready.
“If we are to stand strong in the gay community, our mission should be support, not exclusion; love, not shame. I choose not to look back on the past with a regretful heart but rather focus on the future with a hopeful one. A future where myself and all others can feel free to express their true selves with honor and dignity.
“I embrace you, any of you, with open arms, kindness, faith and patience. For all of you who have supported me, before and now, I thank you from the bottom of my fledgling heart.
“Be proud of who you are. No matter how long it takes.”
Thomas Dekker continues to act, recently appearing in the gay romantic comedy Do You Take This Man, as well as starring in the upcoming film Once Upon a Superhero.