Ian McKellen is like an elder statesman in the gay community. Anytime some uncle at Thanksgiving makes a homophobic comment stereotyping gay people, all you have to do is point at Ian McKellen. The idea of an old, gay man throws people.
Sir Ian McKellen is not only outspoken about his own homosexuality -- in the most tasteful manner, of course -- but he defends and aids others who are hushed into a corner, afraid to dare be themselves.
In a recent interview, Ian McKellen even went so far as to say that his coming out in 1988 to his family and the media, was the start of something refreshing and better for him.
He was 49 years years old before he took that step. Before that, McKellen says, he "wasn't truly allowed" to be himself. In fact, he used acting as a way to "run away from real life."
For an actor, that is a terrible place to be. Finding truth in a part, and connecting that truth to your own personal experience, is something any actor, whether they are Method or not, calls upon at least occasionally, if not regularly.
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) July 16, 2015
"I was finally allowed to be in touch with my own emotions," says McKellen of coming out. "So acting became about telling the truth. It was a huge change."
Ian McKellen, who had fallen in love with acting at a young age, was finally able to connect his adult life with the fascination he felt as a boy watching actors on stage.
"I enjoyed what I was watching so much that I wanted to see how it was done," McKellen said of his childhood experience in theatre.
But his coming out didn't just affect his life as an actor.
"My life got better in every way [after coming out,]" says McKellen. "I don't say I became a better cook, but I became a better son, a better brother, a better uncle, and a better actor – a different actor, anyway."
— anglophenia (@anglophenia) July 15, 2015