Ian McKellen: I have so much to learn
Sir Ian McKellen likes that by being open about his sexuality he has a positive influence on others.
The British legend has been a screen hero since the 60s, and as well as being lauded for his acting work, Ian is praised as a gay role model.
Ian doesn’t shy away from his sexuality, but he still has a lot to learn from other areas of the LGBTQ community.
“If you’re trans, it’s your life. It’s not passing fashion. What’s good is that people are taking trans people seriously and trying to understand their problems and not get in the way. And, I must admit, I know a couple of trans people, but I’d no idea how widespread it was,” Ian told Gay Times.
“I go to schools, and many secondary schools have a transgender pupil going through the process. But, they’re heroes to the school. Everybody knows about them. But I feel that I’m as ignorant to trans problems as people of the past were about gay problems. It was a bit of an education for me. But I wouldn’t say that it’s a passing thing as we’re all taking it on board and trying to understand it.”
Transgender stars like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner are also helping to bring the topic to light.
While 76-year-old Ian doesn’t agree that famous members of the gay community should feel they need to share everything about themselves, he is happy to be a voice for people struggling.
“I do think that people who are in the public eye that are gay would get a lot of pleasure on the good influence they can have. I get lots of letters from parents saying: ‘Thank you for being out. You helped my kid go through the process. And reassured us, as parents, that it’s not the end of the world; in fact, it’s the beginning.'
“I was brought up to believe that you should leave the world a better place if you get the opportunity to do that. It gives me an enormous pleasure coming in on that [Manchester Pride] float. Not because for a moment I’m the centre of their attention, but because we’re all on the same side,” he smiled.
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