Chandler Massey, who plays Will Horton
on the NBC daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives, addressed the
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) at its recent Atlanta Dinner.
Massey, 27, is the first actor to
receive a Daytime Emmy Award for portraying a gay character. Massey
returned to the role of Will last year after a 4 year hiatus.
Massey told the crowd that when he
learned that he would be part of a coming out gay storyline, he
didn't think much about the impact it would have on viewers.
“Thankfully, that ego-centric
thinking was short lived,” he said.
Massey described Will's coming out as
“real, nuanced, [and] powerful.”
“This was an unfiltered story about a
young man struggling to come to terms with an integral part of
himself. And it was a story that was so unrepresented in daytime
television that we had, honestly, no idea how it would be received,”
“My ignorance was replaced with
awareness, with gratitude, and with pride. I underestimated the
power of a good story.”
Massey said that he received a letter
from a mother who found the courage to talk to her son about his
sexuality after avoiding the subject.
“She said that seeing Will Horton
come out of the closet gave them a roadmap to have that conversation
for the very first time,” Massey said.
Massey joked that Days might
broadcast the first “gay three way” in daytime television
history. “Fingers crossed,” he told the crowd to applause.