Neil Patrick Harris: GLAAD Responds



Below, GLAAD‘s Entertainment Media Director, Damon Romine, weighs in on an earlier talk with Michael Jensen of

I got a comment on my earlier posting that this is not a big deal, that it’s something everyone’s known for a while. What’s the difference between an actor coming out publicly and it being rumored?

Both T.R. Knight and Neil were in a similar situation where they were out to coworkers and friends, but the general public wasn’t aware of the situation. Neil’s coming out has tremendous impact in terms of creating awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

There’s a difference between the rest of the country, and New York/L.A. just being conscious. I think there is a tremendous difference between people thinking they know it and someone being public about who they are. That puts an end to the gossip, but sends a great message. ‘This is who i am; I want to share that with you.’ Here’s what we know: Attitudes and opinions change when you know someone who’s gay. How I Met Your Mother is an extremely popular sitcom, and now millions of viewers can say that they know someone who’s gay. I read in TV Guide, how on his own show, he’s going to have a gay brother. How [Harris’s character] is with a women, the gay brother will be the same with men. It’s an interesting twist on it.

Do you think it will affect his career any?

I’m putting Harris and Knight together in this context because they have both something historic in coming out while still appearing on their television series. These are two people at the top of their game, and on very popular television shows. The more people who choose to live openly, the less bias you’ll see in Hollywood. There will be a shifting in the bias.

I talked with’s Michael Jensen about how Rupert Everett mentioned however that this cut him off from playing action-hero roles. What do you think?

There are many reasons why someone won’t get a part. It’s hard to pin it on being gay. The reality is, many actors have certainly thrived in their careers. Their coming out has allowed them to live openly, honestly, and with an authenticity that has made their career flourish. And also, Everett came out several years back, and we’re in a different period in history. Times change; the more actors come out, the more we see in public, the less stigma there is attached to it. And the less bias we’ll see in Hollywood.

Do you think it’s more difficult for lesbians to come out?

You look at the fact that Rosie O’Donnell is very successful; Ellen is successful; Jane Lynch is a star of Lovespring International and has a feature film coming out, For Your Consideration; Kristanna Loken was just given a new leading role in a Sci Fi series; Sarah Paulson is out and she’s Matthew Perry’s leading lady on Studio 60…A handful of women are out and working in Hollywood. I feel like it’s become easier for men and women to come out and live their lives honestly.