In a post celebrating World Theater Day
(March 27), out actor Jonathan Bennett said that theater saved him
from his homophobic small town.
Bennett is best known for playing Aaron
Samuels in the 2004 comedy Mean Girls. Last year, he starred
in The Christmas House, Hallmark's first gay holiday film.
Bennett, 39, shared a video of himself
on Instagram singing on stage at 16.
He said that this version of himself
was “awkward,” lived in fear, was bullied, and was called “a
faggot” when he walked down the halls of his high school.
“He cries himself to sleep every
night and develops stomach ulcers because of the stress and the
homophobia in his small town,” he wrote. “He thinks really dark
thoughts and lives miserably in secret.”
He found “the tiniest bit of refuge”
in “his high school theater.”
“He walks in and for the first time
in his life, he feels safe,” Bennett
wrote. “He feels seen. He actually speaks out loud and isn't
called a faggot and no one makes a mockery of him. He isn't ridiculed
for being different, he's CELEBRATED. He's not a loser, they actually
make him a STAR.”
He added a message of support for teens
struggling with their sexuality or identity.
“To any one reading this that
identifies with my story, know that you are not alone and that you
are a star and you deserve to shine bright,” he wrote. “And never
stop singing and dancing, no matter how good you are because it's not
about being perfect, it's about shining your light. And the world
NEEDS your light.”
last year became engaged to Jaymes Vaughan, the co-host of