John Barrowman is easing into his first coffee of the day and recalling a reporter’s effusive—but loaded—compliments about his colorful Etro shirt. “I knew she wanted me to say it was flamboyant, but I thought, I’m going to make you work for it. Finally she got around to a question about my life. I said, ‘Oh, my God, you said gay! I’m so proud of you. It only took you 20 minutes!’ ” He leans back against the booth and laughs broadly, a hand on his stomach like he’s trying to restrain himself.
“I have no problem talking about it,” he rushes to clarify, as if it’s possible to miss the mischievous gleam in his eyes. “I’m proud of what I’ve done. I’m proud of who I am, and I’m proud to be gay. No qualms.”
The Royal Air Force even asked him to do a fly-by and pose for in-character photo ops. While such a request of an openly gay actor is unthinkable in the current climate of the U.S. military, the United Kingdom drafted a new code of conduct in 2000 allowing gay men and women to serve openly in its armed services. “That’s why I said I’d do it.” Out comes the wicked grin: “I’d like to think my pilot was gay. How many gay boys want to go in the cockpit? I did that!”
“I played flute, do you know?” he points out dryly, his American accent peppered with British slang. “I was in choir. I wanted to be a cheerleader—I liked those tight pants, and you would get to go to competitions where there were other boys who were probably like me. But I never pushed that. I could have ostracized myself, but I loved the social aspect. I did make-out sessions with girls while in my head I was going, What am I doing?”
His male friends helped in their own way. “We’d be watching dirty movies, the other boys at one end of the sofa and me at the other, and everyone’s giving it—” He mimes jerking himself off. “And I’m having a little look.” He also nursed a serious crush on a close friend but never made a move. “I thought by just being gay you would get AIDS.” He shakes his head angrily. “Stupid fucks—not us, them [for not teaching us about it].”
“And, OK,” he admits, “people called me a fag, but I ignored it.”
Escape came in the dubious form of a singing gig at Opryland USA, a now-defunct Nashville theme park, where he finally met other gay men. “I had my first kiss, and that was lovely,” he remembers. “But I didn’t do anything really full-on until I was in my 20s.”
When he finally came out to his parents, he presented them with two options, he says: “ ‘One is that you turn your back on me, and I walk out this door. Or two, my life is going to be a journey, and I’m going to do, I hope, great things. And I want you to be a part of it.’ ”
“They actually said, ‘We are a bit appalled that you would think we would turn our back on you.’ And my dad said, ‘I don’t understand a lot of it yet, but I will.’ And they have.”
When cast on CBS’s short-lived Central Park West, Barrowman was told by the studio not to discuss his sexuality, even though show creator Darren Star is openly gay. Did he follow orders? “No,” Barrowman says, shortly. “And you know, maybe it was detrimental to me, but I didn’t care. Once you’ve been put in a position of either the limelight or authority, and you are an honest and truthful human being, you are political.”
Even in the United Kingdom, “John had an agent before who was very unhappy about my ever appearing with him,” Gill says. Since he signed with Gavin Barker, an openly gay manager—with whom Barrowman agreed he should casually mention Gill during the aforementioned Gay Times interview—his career has soared.
The entire thing can be read @ source
Out magazine out-takes
Would you rather get to make out with Rob Lowe or be on a show with him?
But if you'd been available to appear on Brothers & Sisters, you'd have been playing his brother!
It'd be a good storyline!
Who's your favorite guy on Lost?
Sawyer. He's a rough boy. I like Jack, but...Sawyer. I would just -- devour him. I'm happy to have to put up a fight.
More @ the source.
More Out magazine out-takes
Out: When you were growing up, did you think of yourself as someone who would have a relationship that lasted so long?
Barrowman: Well, I have great parents. They've been married for 54 years, and they've had a great relationship. I would like the house with the big fence around it -- or the gate that opens and a wall around it. We're looking for a country house in South Wales, with a good bit of land, so when we have friends over and parties and stuff, no one is complaining. It's my world, my business. Maybe with a sea view -- and Scott would help design it.
Out: Where will you and John be in 10 years?
Scott Gill: I'd like to see us a bit more financially secure. And hopefully we'll have finished decorating our bathroom. We live in a very lovely house in London, but it's got this kind of heart of darkness in it -- the bathroom in our master bedroom. We had an argument [when moving in] over what kind of tiles to have, and in the end I said, "I can't just live without a bathroom!" So I went to get this blue plastic sheet, which I nailed to the wall so we can use the shower. Ten years on it's still there! When friends come round they can't believe that we live like that. It's become a standing joke. The rest of the house is all finished. We still disagree whenever we try to sit down and sort it out! He says, "I hate this bloody bathroom," and then we always have a row about it.
Freema Agyeman does SFX magazine
Freema reads bed-time stories on CBeebies