Lucas Hedges Opens Up About Identifying on a Sexual Spectrum: 'It's Not as Black and White'

When it comes to his sexuality, Lucas Hedges prefers not to label himself

Ellen DeGeneres
Photo: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Lucas Hedges prefers not to label himself.

The Manchester By the Sea star, 21, once again got honest about his sexual identity on Tuesday’s episode of Ellen. He started by explaining to the host the plot of his upcoming film Boy Erased with Nicole Kidman, 51, who plays his mother. It tells the true story of a man named Garrard Conley who was outed by a friend in college as gay and went to conversion therapy to appease his parents.

At DeGeneres‘ prompting, Hedges revealed how his own experience with queerness informed his portrayal of the leading role. “I was fortunate enough to be raised — I went to a progressive, liberal arts school for my whole life,” he began.

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Ellen DeGeneres</a>
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

“In sixth grade, I had a health teacher, and he presented the idea of sexuality existing on a spectrum. It’s not really that you exist 100 percent one thing and 100 percent the other,” the Lady Bird actor recalled. “From that moment on, I always identified myself as existing within that spectrum. I see it as something that’s more fluid. It’s just not as black and white.”

Then the host quipped in response, “I’m confused whenever I’m around Ryan Reynolds. I could go on, Justin Timberlake, I’m confused. What’s wrong with me?”

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Ellen DeGeneres</a>
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

In addition to being nominated for an Oscar at just 20 years old, Hedges’ advocacy for the grey area of sexual orientation has helped him build a name for himself. In a profile with Vulture published in September, he got even more candid about how he sees himself.

“I recognize myself as existing on that spectrum: Not totally straight, but also not gay and not necessarily bisexual,” he explained. “In the early stages of my life, some of the people I was most infatuated with were my closest male friends. That was the case through high school, and I think I was always aware that while for the most part I was attracted to women, I existed on a spectrum.”

RELATED: Lucas Hedges is One of the Youngest People Nominated for Best Supporting Actor Ever

He added, “I felt ashamed that I wasn’t 100 percent, because it was clear that one side of sexuality presents issues, and the other doesn’t as much.”

He then addressed Boy Erased specifically with the outlet.

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Ellen DeGeneres</a>
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

“I recognized that sense of anticipating and waiting for anyone and everyone to be like, ‘There’s something wrong with you,’” Hedges commented about his upcoming role. “It’s a story about shame, which felt to me like the governing factor of my life and my childhood.”

Boy Erased is out Friday in select theaters.

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