Sunday 21 December 2014

Ian McKellen on his gravestone: 'Here lies Gandalf. He came out'

HEATHER SAUL, Independent.co.uk

Published 22/02/2014 | 12:57

Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian Mckellen said he has never met a gay person who has come out and regretted it, sending a powerful message to people hiding their sexuality while discussing actress Ellen Page’s recent announcement that she is gay.

The X-men actor, who is openly gay, offered words of advice to people afraid of revealing their homosexuality during a BuzzFeed Brews interview on Friday.

“Anyone in public life who comes out, comes out primarily for themselves and their life is immediately improved. That’s what happened to me,” he said. “The world [became] a slightly better place.”

The Lord of the Rings actor said he believed his role in the trilogy and the fact that he is openly gay would become his lasting legacy. “I often thought my gravestone would say, ‘Here lies Gandalf. He came out,’” he said. “Those are two of the proudest achievements that I’ve got.”

Sir Ian, a vocal spokesman for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, recently fronted an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin signed by 27 Nobel laureates speaking out against the ban on “homosexual propaganda” which they said “inhibits the freedom of local and foreign Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people to speak openly about their sexuality and prohibits Gay Pride celebrations.”

During the interview, where he was joined by Sir Patrick Stewart, he said that actress Ellen Page’s recent announcement she was gay had pushed the cause towards “a happy conclusion”. “That gladdened my heart so much,” he said.

“For people who are lonely … reading that about someone whose career they follow is a little bit of a help and encouragement to them to think it does get better.”

Sir Patrick found himself mistakenly outed as gay earlier this week by Guardian columnist Jane Czyzselska, who cited Sir Patrick Stewart as an example of a gay actor who cheered Page on for her public disclosure.

His humorous reaction to being 'outed' was captured in a tweet, when he wrote: "But I have, like, five or even SEVEN hetero friends and we totally drink beer and eat lots of chicken wings!"

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