October 25, 2018 at 1:51 pm EDT | by Mariah Cooper
Actor Garrett Clayton says Hollywood forced him to stay closeted

Garrett Clayton (Photo courtesy of Gay Times Magazine)

Actor Garrett Clayton got candid about his experience being gay in Hollywood in a new interview with Gay Times Magazine.

Clayton, 27, started his career appearing in Disney programs such as “Teen Beach Movie” and ‘Shake it Up.” He also portrayed Link Larkin in NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” In 2016, he starred as Brent Corrigan in the gay porn drama “King Cobra” but Clayton didn’t publicly come out as gay until August.

Speaking with Gay Times Magazine, Clayton says he was encouraged to keep his sexuality a secret for the sake of his career.

“One of the first things somebody who was instrumental in starting my career did, they sat me down and they said, ‘Are you gay?’ And I could feel the pressure of the question, so I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m gay, or bi, or whatever’, because suddenly I could feel that there was something wrong with that in this person’s eyes. They looked at me and said, ‘No one wants to fuck the gay guy, they want to go shopping with him, so we’re going to have to figure this out.’ It turned into this situation where I’d get calls and they’d say, ‘You still need to butch it up,'” Clayton says.

Clayton was told to change the way he acted, dressed, talked and even answered questions to appear straight.

“It got as petty as them saying, ‘People need to see that you’re into sports because they’ll think that’s more masculine, so why don’t you go buy a sports hat, take some pictures in it, and make sure people see you in it,’” he recalls.

“I convinced myself that I was the problem, and I got into a really dark place for a couple of years. Then I went to therapy for about a year and a half to really sort through all the things I went through growing up and the situations I found myself in while in Hollywood. I got to work through all those conflicting things,” Clayton continued.

Clayton also had a tough time coming out to his family.

“Before my dad moved to Florida I kind of had a meltdown and told him, and he just hated it. A month or two after that, when I was leaving my last day on the set of my first movie – which was a huge step for me, I was so excited – he freaked out because I was late. I came out to the car and he just started screaming at me, and it boiled up to him screaming at me about how he hated that I was gay, and he didn’t know what to do with me. It was this horrible gut-wrenching fight right after one of my first big accomplishments,” he says about coming out to his dad.

His brother had a similar negative reaction. Clayton says that after a fight over same-sex marriage on social media the two haven’t reconnected.

“My brother reacted badly when I told him, too. I don’t want to put him on blast, because he’s still my family, but I do feel that honesty in this situation is important. A few years ago, when same-sex marriage was legalised, my brother was furious, and he went online posting about how the American flag was gonna be a rainbow soon, like, ‘What’s happening to America?’ And I remember seeing that and thinking, ‘You have a gay brother, you idiot!’ So I went on his Facebook like, ‘So wait a minute, you’re telling me that there can be someone you care about in your life, who wants to impede nothing on yours, and just wants the same rights as you, and you would take that away from them?’ And then he blocked me. If my brother wants to reconnect with me, I welcome it wholeheartedly. I’m a big believer in people learning from their mistakes. But not every story gets a happy ending,” Clayton says.

Read Clayton’s full interview here.



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