Tyler James Williams has addressed rumours about his sexuality and called on fans to stop “overanalysing” the behaviour of celebrities to determine if they are queer.
The Abbott Elementary star, 30, explained why he believed it is “dangerous” to attempt to “catch” people who may have not chosen to come out publicly as LGBT+ in two lengthy Instagram Stories.
Williams began his career as a child actor and appeared on Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street. He found fame while playing Chris Rock in the semi-autobiographical sitcom Everybody Hates Chris from 2005 to 2009.
He currently stars as Gregorie Eddie in the ABC series Abbott Elementary. Williams won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series this year for the show.
“Usually I wouldn’t address stuff like this, but I feel like it as a conversation is bigger than me,” he said in his post. “I’m not gay, but I think the culture of trying to ‘find’ some kind of hidden trait or behaviour that a closed person ‘let slip’ is very dangerous.
“Overanalysing someone’s behaviour in an attempt to ‘catch’ them directly contributes to the anxiety of a lot of queer and queer-questioning people feel when they fear living in their truth.
“It makes the most pedestrian of conversations and interactions in spaces feel less safe for our gay brothers and sisters and those who may be questioning,” he continued.
Williams added that doing so “reinforces an archetype that many straight men have to live under that is oftentimes unrealistic, less free, and limits individual expressing”.
The actor said he uses his platform to push back against those “archetypes” and explained: “Being straight doesn’t look one way. Being gay doesn’t look one way.”
He continued: “And what may seem like harmless fun and conversation may actually be sending a dangerous message to those struggling with real issues. I refuse to inadvertently contribute to that message.”
Williams then wished those in the LGBT+ community a “Happy Pride”, adding: “I pray that you feel seen in ways that make you feel safe in the celebration that is this month.
“As an ally, I continue to be committed to assisting in that where I can and helping to cultivate a future where we are all accepted and given permission to be ourselves.”
He ended his message with a white heart emoji.
Fans praised Williams for taking a stand and being vocal about supporting the LGBT+ community.
“Wow, this is what not only understanding looks like, but showing up looks like. Perfect,” one person wrote.
Another said: “This is such a lovely statement. I do wish people would quit trying to project sexuality onto celebs or try to out them if you suspect queerness. It’s not any less harmful than if someone tried to do the same to you.”
A third said that Williams is “the kind of ally we should all aspire to be”.
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