Sean Hayes' mom wrote him a 10-page letter after he came out. It wasn't too nice.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

Sean Hayes is often celebrated as a gay trailblazer in Hollywood, bringing to life the hilarious and unashamedly queer Jack McFarland in "Will & Grace." But Hayes' own coming out story reflects a dark side of the LGBTQ experience fans don't always get to see from his character on the hit NBC sitcom.

In a new interview with People magazine, Hayes opened up about his mother's rejection upon learning her son was gay at 18 years old. “It was 1988 when I came out,” he explained. "It’s so cliché that it was during Thanksgiving weekend."


"My mom said I needed to go see a therapist," he continued. "She wrote me a 10-page letter, both sides on legal pad-size paper. 'This is not what God' — you know, the whole uneducated view of it."

Photo by Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty Images.

Hayes had suspected his family may not take the news well. He'd even hidden the fact that he performed in high school plays from his brothers, fearful his participation in drama club would out him as "different."

"Theater was for gays, and it was for sissies, and things like that," Hayes said. "Things that you were taught to be ashamed of."

Fortunately in the decades since, Hayes' mom came around to accepting him for who he is.

“She became educated and had friends who [were] gay people,” Hayes told People. “She was like, ‘Oh I see. You’re just like me,’ and all that. It became fine and wonderful, and then she became so supportive and awesome.”

Sean Hayes (right) and his "Will & Grace" co-stars. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images.

Hayes' evolving relationship with his mom mirrors a societal shift for the better on LGBTQ issues. 57% percent of parents today say they would not be upset if their child came out as gay — that's up from 9% in 1985, according to Pew Research.

But how intersectional and inclusive has that progress really been felt across the community?

Although Americans' perception of queer people has changed remarkably throughout the past decade overall, there's still a lot work to be done — particularly when it comes to the other letters beyond just "L" and G" in LGBTQ.

While marriage equality has been legalized nationwide along with the expansion of same-sex adoption, the blowback to such progress has been alarming, often harming the most vulnerable within the queer community. 

Hate crimes targeting transgender people, for example — and in particular, trans women of color — are on the rise, according to FBI statistics released in November. Research suggests half of transgender people will experience sexual violence at some point in their lives; a figure far higher than the general population. Significant stigma remains for bisexual men and women as well — people who routinely see their identities sexualized, questioned, and erased.

The Trump administration continues to undermine progress for the LGBTQ community — more than it already has. Trump rescinded bathroom protections for trans students in schools, surrounded himself with homophobic and transphobic officials with huge sway over policy, and emboldened anti-LGBTQ movements across the world.

But to Hayes, who's currently starring in the revived "Will & Grace" series on NBC, it's important to remember things have gotten better.

A more inclusive world means more positive coming out experiences for LGBTQ kids everywhere.

"If you don’t have the words to explain [your sexuality] to your family, you can say, ‘Like, 'Will & Grace,’ or 'Like Ellen DeGeneres,'" he said. "There’s so many more examples now to help people and give them tools to communicate to kids and their families that being gay is as normal as being straight."

via Noti Tolum / Facebook

A group of beachgoers in Mexico proved that when people join together and stand up for justice, you can triumph in even the direst of circumstances.

Municipal police in Tulum, Quintana Roo got received a tip that there were men allegedly committing "immoral acts" on the beach. So the officers, armed with AR-15 rifles, picked up two Canadian men.

"The officers approached a group of young foreigners," local politician Maritza Escalante Morales recounted in her video. "After about 20 minutes passed, a patrol car arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs."

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

This story was originally published on The Mighty.

Most people imagine depression equals “really sad,” and unless you’ve experienced depression yourself, you might not know it goes so much deeper than that. Depression expresses itself in many different ways, some more obvious than others. While some people have a hard time getting out of bed, others might get to work just fine — it’s different for everyone.

Keep Reading Show less
via @jharrisfour / Twitter

The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) kicked off in Orlando, Florida on Friday. It's three days of panels and speakers with former President Donald Trump delivering the keynote speech on Sunday night.

It's believed that during the speech Trump will declare himself the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 nomination.

So far, the event has made headlines for a speech by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who tried his hand at stand-up comedy. "I've got to say, Orlando is awesome," Cruz told the cheering crowd. "It's not as nice as Cancun. But it's nice."

Keep Reading Show less