British actor Sir Ian McKellen has
described remaining closeted as “choking” a part of yourself.
The 73-year-old Sir Ian is best known
for playing Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy and
Magneto in the X-Men films.
In 1988, McKellen announced he was gay
in the pages of Gay Times and went to work advocating against
Section 28, the UK legislation that banned any positive discussion of
homosexuality in schools. It was not fully repealed until 2003.
At a secondary school event to discuss
anti-gay bullying, Sir Ian said he “always knew” about his sexual
“There was no Graham Norton on the
television at that time, no gay MPs, no-one talking about gay rights
on the radio. So I dealt with it by trying to cut that part of
myself off, to hide myself, to choke a part of me,” he told the
“When you are made to feel you are so
wrong for being who you are, that's what you do.”
“I think that's why so many great
British actors are gay – we spent so long pretending to be
straight, to be someone else, that eventually we became very good at