Russell Tovey and Alec Mapa
Openly gay Looking star Russell Tovey’s comments that he’s happy he didn’t turn out effeminate have not gone down well.
In an interview with The Guardian, the British actor spoke about his father’s refusal to allow him to go to theatre school, hinting at, what some might say is, internalised homophobia.
“I was so envious of everyone who went to Sylvia Young Theatre School. I wanted to go but my dad flat-out refused. He thought I’d become some tapdancing freak without qualifications. And he was right in a way. I’m glad I didn’t go…”
Tovey went on to explain: “I feel like I could have been really effeminate, if I hadn’t gone to the school I went to. Where I felt like I had to toughen up. If I’d have been able to relax, prance around, sing in the street, I might be a different person now. I thank my dad for that, for not allowing me to go down that path. Because it’s probably given me the unique quality that people think I have.”
Gay American actor and comedian Alec Mapa, who’s best known for his roles in Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, responded on social media with a scathing retort.
“He’s glad he’s not effeminate? Well the feeling is mutual lady, I’m glad I’m not you. I kind of feel like this is why I do what I do. Why I’m not just a homo, but A BIG ONE.
“Being an effeminate gay man still remains an unforgivable sin in our masculinity obsessed culture. I think about all the young sissy boys who return from school after being bullied and shamed day after day, perhaps returning home to the same treatment. I know because I was one of those kids. Was? I still am! I still get it in the neck for being who I am. I’ve spoken to so many non gender conforming youth who have the same recognizable look of despair on their faces.
“All they need to hear is that they’re fine exactly the way they are. That there’s nothing wrong. That they haven’t killed anyone. That they’re worthy of love and acceptance , AS IS. Perhaps if they heard that they’d stand up for themselves. Perhaps if they heard that they wouldn’t be four times as likely to commit suicide than their straight peers.
“Perhaps if we were all encouraged to love ourselves from the beginning we wouldn’t grow up to be gay men who treat other gay men like shit. I’m in no way outraged by this. I’ve been hearing this since day I could mince. It’s just disappointing . We experience so much discrimination from the outside world, wouldn’t it be great if we were kinder to each other in our own community? There are a billion reasons to feel actual shame and remorse. Being your authentic, fabulous, faggy self shouldn’t be one of them,” said Mapa.
He signed his statement with, “Alec Mapa – Professional Effeminate Homosexual for nearly 50 years.”
Update: Tovey has taken to Twitter to apologise for his remarks. He wrote: “I surrender. You got me. I’m sat baffled and saddened that a mis-fired inarticulate quote of mine, has branded me worst gay ever. If you feel I have personally let you down, I’m sorry, that was never my intention. “
Tovey added: “I’m proud to be who I am and proud for others. We’re in this together, I want you to know whatever you think I meant, I didn’t. I’m gonna ride this out, and one day we will all look back on this moment with a half smile of fascination and amusement.”