New Idols South Africa judge Somizi Mhlongo has revealed that being openly gay has cost him work opportunities.
The choreographer, performer and socialite made the admission on an episode of the I Am youth programme on the Vuzu Amp channel last Friday.
“The minute I came out and expressed my sexuality I was put in a box. I no longer got cast for straight roles and that is the reason I refuse to play gay roles even to this day,” he said, reported Sunday World.
Mhlongo, who appeared on a panel for the show along with Mr Gay SA 2010 second runner up Ignatius Mnisi, said that he was lucky to have parents who accepted him for who he is.
“My parents are a true example of what unconditional love is. They’ve let me be who I am,” he said, adding that when he was still confused and scared about his identity, “my family supported me.”
The celebrity also addressed becoming a father as a young man to daughter Lehlohonolo. “When I fathered a child I already knew I was not a straight guy. I did everything knowing very well I was gay,” he said.
He urged those who take part in Pride marches and parades to “think of all the people who have suffered and were raped and murdered because of their sexuality.”
Mhlongo hosted the 2005 TV talk show Intimate Connexionz as his drag alter ego Madame Gigi. He also appeared in movies such as Sarafina and Cry the Beloved Country.
He will début as an Idols SA judge when Season 11 kicks off Sunday 12 July.