QUEER VOICES
01/27/2018 02:19 pm ET Updated Jan 28, 2018

Ian McKellen: 'I’ve Never Met A Gay Person Who Regretted Coming Out'

The legendary actor is celebrating his 30th anniversary of coming out publicly.

Sir Ian McKellen commemorated the 30th anniversary of his publicly coming out with a statement on the power of being open about who you are.

“I’ve never met a gay person who who regretted coming out — including myself,” the renowned actor wrote on Twitter. “Life at last begins to make sense, when you are open and honest.”

The 78-year-old English actor, who is an LGBTQ activist and founder of Stonewall UK, has previously talked about growing up in a time when being gay was illegal and highly stigmatized. 

“Gay people, homosexuals, conducted their lives as secretly as possible,” he said in a short film earlier this year. “There was nobody who was out ― nobody.”

McKellen addressed his sexuality to the media in 1988, at the age of 49. It happened during a discussion over legislation that made “promoting homosexuality” in schools illegal. 

“I was so appalled by this when I heard of it, I joined in groups vocally explaining why this was an unjust law, and in a debate on BBC radio, I came out and said I was gay,” he told ET Online.

His public announcement then came during the AIDS crisis — a time of extreme stigma and prejudice against gay men.

McKellen has said many times that he regrets not coming out publicly sooner.

“What happened immediately, according to friends, is I became not just a happier person, but a better actor,” he told HuffPost in 2015. “I think up to that point, I had been using acting as a disguise — somewhere where I could express my emotions, and draw attention to myself in a way that I didn’t particularly want to do in real life. Acting became not about disguise, but about telling the truth.”

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated McKellen is 77. He’s 78.

CONVERSATIONS