Although more productions than ever are embracing queer characters and actors, there are still many in the business who face discrimination, including Teen Wolf and Arrow star Colton Haynes.
In his new memoir, Miss Memory Lane, Haynes opens up about the struggles he faced as an aspiring actor and gay man. He writes that although he was openly gay in his earlier life, he was forced back into the closet for the sake of his career. "It didn't matter who was on my team," Haynes says. "The message I got was always the same: You will not work if you are yourself."
Haynes goes on to say that he nearly didn't book the role of Jackson Whittemore on Teen Wolf because of a gay-themed photoshoot for XY Magazine he'd done as a teenager. Haynes says he ultimately only booked the role because Jeff Davis, the creator and showrunner of the series, "fought for him."
The actor also remembers his manager warning him that job opportunities could be affected if he continued to be open about his sexuality. Haynes recalls him saying, "Look what almost happened, Colton. The head of MTV almost didn't hire you because of that XY photo shoot we've been working our asses off to extinguish. Thank God Jeff fought for you to get that role." The actor reveals he was then told to "stay in character both on and off set" to avoid future issues surrounding his sexuality.
Years later, things have changed for Haynes. Despite having once "spent years sending cease-and-desist letters to everyone who posted [his] XY shoot," Haynes now embraces it as part of his identity as a gay man. He publicly came out in 2016, and last year during Pride Month he posted a photo from the shoot on his Instagram account with the caption, "Being gay is worth celebrating. I wish I’d figured that out sooner, but I’m so glad I know it now."
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Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.