Sense8 actor Brian J. Smith just came out.
Smith, 38, is perhaps best known for his character Will Gorski in Sense8, who he played for two years before Netflix cancelled the show. He recently talked to Attitude about growing up gay in Texas.
“I was terrified,” he said about his childhood. “At school I really couldn’t fit in anywhere. I wasn’t a jock or a nerd.”
“Forget about any [LGBTQ] union or groups. There was absolutely nothing. I was completely alone. I heard all the names: pussy, faggot.”
“I could never be who I was,” he said. “I was constantly having to check myself and make sure I wasn’t looking at someone too long or making someone feel uncomfortable.”
“I had to be very, very careful about telling people the truth about myself. It still reverberates. A lot of my work is about that.”
He said that he came out to his family as an adult, and that they were “wonderful” about it.
“They said they were just waiting for me to say something,” Smith said. “They were a lot more advanced than I gave them credit for.”
“I think that’s when I became OK with it, too,” he said. “Just in terms of being, ‘Oh, that’s the world, it’s not as dangerous as I thought it was’.”
Smith also credited Sense8 with helping him come to terms with his sexuality.
“I remember being so relaxed,” he said about working on the series. “I thought, ‘Finally, I can just be myself, I don’t have to put on airs for any of these people.’”