Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels, the openly gay director of America’s top movie this past weekend, has discussed why it’s often so hard for black gay men to come out the closet.

Daniels’ drama, The Butler, starring Oprah Winfrey, topped the box-office in the US with a $25 million haul over three days.

The 53-year-old director, who was nominated for an Oscar for his 2009 film Precious, opened up about his sexuality in an interview with Larry King.

Daniels said that he realised he was gay at the age of five. He remembered being caught by his father wearing his mother’s red heels.

“He beat me severely for it. But that didn’t stop me because the following Sunday I walked down the stairs wearing her blue pumps, this time with her purse,” he told King.

Daniels also addressed the phenomenon of black men living in the closet; secretly sleeping with men while having relationships with women and at times infecting them with HIV.

“Black men can’t come out. Why? Because you simply can’t do it. Your family says it. Your church says it. Your teachers say it. Your parents say it. Your friends say it. Your work says it,” he said.

“So you’re living on this ‘DL’ thing and you’re infecting black women and its killing us. The black culture and the Hispanic culture have a thing about [homosexuality],” Daniels added.

The Butler tells the real-life story of an African American man who witnessed historic events over 34 years while working as a White House butler. It also stars Forest Whitaker and Mariah Carey.

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