Charlie Carver, best known for his roles in Teen Wolf and The Leftovers, announced that he is gay on Instagram Monday.
The actor penned a heartfelt essay that was split in a series of five posts with the photo of the inspirational quote, “Be Who You Needed When You Were Younger.”
Carver, 27, has played several gay characters on screen but had not commented on his own sexuality until now.
“As a young boy, I knew I wanted to be an actor. I knew I wanted to be a lot of things… It was around that age that I also knew, however abstractly, that I was different from some of the other boys in my grade,” he wrote. “Over time, this abstract ‘knowing’ grew and articulated itself through a painful gestation marked by feelings of despair and alienation, ending in a climax of saying three words out loud: ‘I am gay.'”
Pt 1: “Be who you needed when you were younger”. About a year ago, I saw this photo while casually scrolling through my Instagram one morning. I’m not one for inspirational quotes, particularly ones attributed to “Mx Anonymous”- something mean in me rebukes the pithiness of proverbs, choosing to judge them as trite instead of possibly-generally-wise, resonant, or helpful. And in the case of the good ol’ Anonymous kind, I felt that there was something to be said for the missing context. Who wrote or said the damn words? Why? And to/for who in particular? Nonetheless, I screen-capped the picture and saved it. It struck me for some reason, finding itself likeable enough to join the ranks of the “favorites” album on my phone. I’d see it there almost daily, a small version of it next to my other “favorites”; I’d see it every time I checked into the gym, pulled up a picture of my insurance cards, my driver’s license…. Important Documents. And over the course of about-a-year, it became clear why the inspirational photo had called out to me. As a young boy, I knew I wanted to be an actor. I knew I wanted to be a lot of things! I thought I wanted to be a painter, a soccer player, a stegosaurus… But the acting thing stuck. It was around that age that I also knew, however abstractly, that I was different from some of the other boys in my grade. Over time, this abstract “knowing” grew and articulated itself through a painful gestation marked by feelings of despair and alienation, ending in a climax of saying three words out loud: “I am gay”. I said them to myself at first, to see how they felt. They rang true, and I hated myself for them. I was twelve. It would take me a few years before I could repeat them to anyone else, in the meantime turning the phrase over and over in my mouth until I felt comfortable and sure enough to let the words pour out again, this time to my family…
Carver noted that he came out to his friends and family knowing that he was in a safe space with loved ones where his sexual orientation was “celebrated.” However, in acting and Hollywood it was more complicated for him.
“I did not want to be defined by my sexuality,” the star continued in part three. “Sure, I am a proud gay man, but I don t identify as a Gay man, or a GAY man, or just gay. I identify as a lot of things, these various identifications and identities taking up equal space and making up an ever-fluid sense of Self.”
Adding: “As an actor, I believed that my responsibility to the craft and the business was to remain benevolently neutral – I was a canvas, a chameleon, the next character. For the most part I had a duty to stay a Possibility in the eye of casting, directors, and the public. If I Came Out, I feared I would be limiting myself to a type, to a perception with limits that I was not professionally comfortable with.”
But after playing characters both gay and straight, Carver realized the business is changing. Following those LGBTQ trailblazers before him, Carver feels more “excited” than ever to be himself and help others discover their true identities.
“So now, let the record show this – I self-identify as gay… I owe it to myself, more than anything, to be who I needed when I was younger. And let the record show my twin brother is just as cool for being straight.”