British-born model Zander Hodgson has come out as gay in a heartfelt video posted to his YouTube channel.
‘I brought you guys here to talk about something really important to me,’ he says at the beginning of the clip, shot in his adopted home of Los Angeles.
‘It’s been something that I’ve wanted to share with everyone for a while now. But it’s been one thing after the other that has got in the way of me being able to speak up about it.
‘A really important part of me’
‘This is something that I thought was important to do for my own growth, for myself, to be unashamed, to connect to others, to connect to you more.
‘I wanted to tell everyone that I am gay. And although that doesn’t change anything for me, and hopefully not for you, I just thought it was a really important thing to share with everyone.
‘Although sexuality is a small part of someone, if you shut it off, then you don’t allow yourself to be fully known. If you shut off one thing of yourself, then you shut off so many other things.
‘Being able to get close to someone is hard when you don’t allow yourself to fully connect and be known as who you are. And it’s a really important part of me.
‘I wanted to do this video as well, because when I think about all the kids out there that are being bullied, or are really struggling with their sexuality, even teenage or adults, I just want you to know that you are not alone.’
Making a name as an actor
He goes on to explain that one of the reasons he’s held back from revealing this information before is because he’s trying to establish himself as an actor. He says the acting industry is ‘not very welcoming to gay actors’ and says there are not many out gay actors in his age range.
‘I don’t think there are many opportunities out there for gay men to play straight roles.
‘While I love watching gay films about gay relationships, where straight actors have taken on the role, I’m also questioning more and more why is a straight actor in that role when there are so many gay actors out there?
‘I want to be able to play all kinds of roles: straight guys; gay guys; criminals; trans; all kinds of characters out there that are juicy and beautiful and so interesting.
‘And if I do get pushed aside because I’m a gay actor now and that’s not marketeable enough, then so be it. I’d rather live a full life. I’d rather be myself. I’d rather go on my journey and not suppress myself any more.’
‘Most of my family just accepted it and loved me regardless’
He says that coming out to his family was challenging as they hold strong religious beliefs and he comes from a small town.
‘Luckily, most of my family have just accepted it, and loved me regardless and also learned what’s it’s like to accept that part of me into their lives.’
He goes on to say that coming out remains important but he hopes one day people won’t have to come out any more.
‘I would like to be a part of history where people aren’t afraid to live their full life, to be true to themself.
‘Everyone is entitled to live their full life and to live truthfully to themselves and be loved.’