+
More

Ian McKellen had trouble making it through this powerful coming-out letter.

Sir Ian McKellen read a powerful letter we should all hear.

Sir Ian McKellen has been out and proud as a gay man for quite some time.

In that time, the actor has said and done a lot of cool things for the LGBTQ community. He's fought discrimination in the U.K., for example, and has been a voice of encouragement to young folks still in the closet. More recently, he pointed out that the Oscars don't just have a racial diversity problem — they lack queer representation, too.


Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images.

So it's no surprise to learn that a moving coming-out letter would tug at McKellen's heartstrings. Luckily for us, the beautiful moment was captured on film.

During a Letters Live event, where artists read powerful literary letters in front of live audiences, McKellen read a coming-out letter from book series "Tales of the City" by Armistead Maupin.

The letter is by a character named Michael Tolliver, who lives in San Francisco in the 1970s, and is writing home to his mother. McKellen had some trouble making it through with a dry eye.

In the novel, Tolliver has learned that his parents support anti-LGBT efforts from notoriously homophobic activist Anita Bryant (Bryant's work, unfortunately, is nonfiction).

So Tolliver takes a bold step and decides to tell his parents about his sexual orientation.

GIFs via Letters Live/The Independent.

Tolliver doesn't make apologies for who he is. But he understands what his mother must be feeling.


When Tolliver thanks his parents for making him the way he is — even if it's not what they intended, McKellen fought back tears as the letter hit close to home.

The whole letter is definitely worth reading if you have a minute.

The letter may have been written during a different time. But even with all the progress we've made, it contains a message that still resonates.

We've come a long way in queer acceptance. In the U.S., a clear majority of people now support same-sex marriage. And those who don't are on the wrong side of history, as marriage equality is now the law across the country. Awareness of issues that specifically affect LGBTQ people, such as bullying, are at the forefront of America's consciousness in many ways.

Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images.

But the voices of oppression are still strong. We have presidential candidates who want to reverse marriage equality. You can still be fired for being gay in many states. And the harmful practice of homophobic conversion therapy is legal in much of the U.S.

We still live in a time where coming out can be brutal. That's why the letter is likely touching many more hearts than just McKellen's.

Everyone who comes out has a different story to tell. For some, walking out of the closet is a breeze. For others, it means risking ending lifelong relationships with family and friends.

McKellen's moving reading is a great reminder that — yes, even in 2016 — there's still so much more work to be done. But it's best we do it with empathy in our hearts.

Watch McKellen's reading of the letter below:

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

Honorees, speakers and guests on stage at We the Peoples

True

Some people say that while change is inevitable, progress is a choice. In other words, it’s a purposeful act—like when American media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner established the United Nations Foundation 25 years ago.

Keep ReadingShow less

Chris Hemsworth and daughter.

This article originally appeared on 08.27.18


In addition to being the star of Marvel franchise "Thor," actor Chris Hemsworth is also a father-of-three? And it turns out, he's pretty much the coolest dad ever.

In a clip from a 2015 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Hemsworth shared an interesting conversation he had with his 4-year-old daughter India.

Keep ReadingShow less
True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

Here's what it'll look like if trans people aren't allowed to use the right bathroom

No woman should be forced to use the men's restroom, and no man should be forced to use the women's.

Picture pulled from YouTube video

Transgender man posts photos protesting a series of bill across the U.S. and Canada.

This article originally appeared on 03.31.15


This is a man named Michael Hughes.

Why is he in a women's restroom?


Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 08.20.21


Sometimes you see something so mind-boggling you have to take a minute to digest what just happened in your brain. Be prepared to take that moment while watching these videos.

Real estate investor and TikTok user Tom Cruz shared two videos explaining the spreadsheets he and his friends use to plan vacations and it's...well...something. Watch the first one:

So "Broke Bobby" makes $125,000 a year. There's that.

How about the fact that his guy has more than zero friends who budget $80,000 for a 3-day getaway? Y'all. I wouldn't know how to spend $80,000 in three days if you paid me to. Especially if we're talking about a trip with friends where we're all splitting the cost. Like what does this even look like? Are they flying in private jets that burn dollar bills as fuel? Are they bathing in hot tubs full of cocaine? I genuinely don't get it.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 05.30.15


Men struggle to comprehend the pressures women feel. The same is true of women!

Gah! We'll never get along.

This conversation between comedian Neal Brennan and Amy Poehler is a pretty good example of how hard it can be to figure life out sometimes.

Keep ReadingShow less