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Connor Jessup is opening up publicly about his sexuality for the first time.
The Canadian actor, best known for his role on ABC’s anthology series “American Crime,” came out as gay Monday in an emotional Instagram post on his 25th birthday.
“I knew I was gay when I was thirteen, but I hid it for years,” Jessup wrote. “I folded it and slipped it under the rest of my emotional clutter. Not worth the hassle. No one will care anyway. If I can just keep making it smaller, smaller, smaller…. My shame took the form of a shrug, but it was shame.”
The actor is best known for his portrayal on the series of Taylor Blaine, whose allegation of sexual assault involving another male causes turmoil in an elite Indiana prep-school community. His character also struggled with his sexual orientation.
“Most painfully, I’ve talked about the gay characters I’ve played from a neutral, almost anthropological distance, as if they were separate from me,” Jessup wrote. “These evasions are bizarre and embarrassing to me now, but at the time they were natural.”
Jessup said that although he wasn’t worried about being accepted by his family, he shielded his authentic self behind comfort, convenience and privilege over the years.
However, he doesn’t want to remain “complicit” or send a message that “being gay is a problem to be solved or hushed.”
“I’m grateful to be gay. Queerness is a solution,” he wrote. “I don’t want to censor––consciously or not––the ways I talk, sit, laugh, or dress, the stories I tell, the jokes I make, my points of reference and connection.”
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Jessup said he hopes that his coming out will inspire other people struggling with identity to embrace who they truly are.
“If you’re gay, bi, trans, two-spirit or questioning, if you’re confused, if you’re in pain or you feel you’re alone, if you aren’t or you don’t: You make the world more surprising and bearable,” he wrote. “To all the queers, deviants, misfits, and lovers in my life: I love you.”
Jessup’s mother, Brenda Thurston, said the message “made me cry.”
“Incredibly humbled and proud to be your Mother. So much respect and love to you, today and always,” she wrote, adding, “Happy 25th Birthday to my beautiful, gay son.”
Contributing: Bill Keveney
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