Gay actor Matt Bomer has spoken about growing up gay and closeted in an award acceptance speech.
Speaking at a Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network ceremony in Palm Springs, the actor and his partner Simon Halls were honored with the Inspiration Award.
‘When I was in high school, there was no safe haven, there was no outlet for you to speak your mind,’ Bomer said.
‘So I did what any self-preserving 14-year-old would do – I signed up for the school play and also the football team to cover my tracks.
‘When that happens, when you aren't allowed to speak about who you are, one of the most authentic parts of who you are, which is who you love or who you're attracted to, feels invisible.’
The 34-year-old American actor, who publicly came out in February and has three children, added: ‘Having kids teaches you so many things, and one of the things we both have learned in our parenting journey is how loving and accepting and open children's minds and hearts are.
‘Unfortunately, in some parts of the country, some kids are taught at an early age that being different is somehow bad or wrong or worthy of ridicule…Kids aren't born to be bullies, they're taught to be bullies.’
True Blood star and Bomer's Magic Mike costar, Joe Manganiello, presented the couple with the award.
‘You are the example that the rest of our country needs to wake up and see in terms of equality and putting an end to the bullying epidemic and making sure that every family is respected in our schools and our society,’ Manganiello said.
Bomer, who is still expected to play the main lead role in the film version of erotic megahit Fifty Shades of Grey, continues to star in crime series White Collar.