Zachary Quinto comes out, cites teen’s death for decision

by Robert Nesti

EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor

Sunday October 16, 2011

Zachary Quinto, best-known for playing Mr. Spock in JJ Abrams' retooled "Star Trek" and Sylar on the television show "Heroes," told New York Magazine that he was gay.

The actor, long circumspect about his personal life, decided to come out when he heard of Jamey Rodemeyer's suicide. The 14-year old who committed suicide on September 18.

When I found out that Jamey Rodemeyer killed himself -- I felt deeply troubled," Quinto posted on his blog Sunday Morning. "But when I found out that Jamey Rodemeyer had made an 'It Gets Better' video only months before taking his own life -- I felt indescribable despair."

Influenced by teen’s death

Quinto,says Rodemeyer’s death made him decide to speak up in public.

"I also made an ’It Gets Better’ video last year in the wake of the senseless and tragic gay teen suicides that were sweeping the nation at the time," Quinto wrote. "But in light of Jamey’s death, it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality."

"Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country," Quinto said.

"Gay kids need to stop killing themselves because they are made to feel worthless by cruel and relentless bullying. Parents need to teach their children principles of respect and acceptance.

"We are witnessing an enormous shift of collective consciousness throughout the world. I believe in the power of intention to change the landscape of our society -- and it is my intention to live an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action."

Rodemeyer’s life has changed his, the 34-year-old Quinto wrote. "While his death only makes me wish that I had done this sooner, I am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me. Now I can only hope to serve as the same catalyst for even one person in this world. That -- I believe -- is all that we can ask of ourselves and of each other."

’Normal Heart’ inflluenced decision

Quinto came out in the pages of this week’s New York Magazine. The 34-year old actor said that his recent appearance in the Tony-winning revival of "The Normal Heart" was a big influence on his decision. In the Larry Kramer drama Quinto played a gay man who leaves his AIDS-afflicted boyfriend.

"As a gay man I look at that and say there’s a hopelessness that surrounds it," he says, "but as a human being I look at it and say ’Why? Where’s this disparity coming from, and why can’t we as a culture and society dig deeper to examine that?’ We’re terrified of facing ourselves."

Quinto plays a gay role in an upcoming episode of "American Horror Story." He recently appeared as one of Ana Faris boyfriends in the recently released "What’s Your Number?" He is one of the leads in the upcoming thriller ’Margin Call."

Prior to being cast as Spock in "Star Trek," he played Tori Spelling’s best friend, gay Iranian-American, on the short-lived series "So NoTORious."

Watch Zachary Quinto's "It Gets Better" video:

Robert Nesti can be reached at [email protected].