(Edge): Actor Garrett Clayton is opening up about his decision to come out as gay, explaining that he felt pressure from Hollywood to stay in the closet and the homophobia he experienced.
The former Disney star spoke with Gay Times in his first major interview since taking to Instagram in August to publicly come out as gay, revealing his relationship with writer Blake Knight. Clayton said Hollywood execs shamed him into staying in the closet for years even though he "finally feels comfortable" with his sexuality. He said at on point he was bluntly asked if he was gay by "somebody who was instrumental in starting my career."
"I could feel the pressure of the question, so I was like, 'Yeah, I'm gay, or bi, or whatever,' because suddenly I could feel that there was something wrong with that in this person's eyes," he said. "They looked at me and said, 'No one wants to fuck the gay guy, they want to go shopping with him, so we're going to have to figure this out.'"
The 27-year-old actor added: "It turned into this situation where I'd get calls and they'd say, 'You still need to butch it up.' I literally had to change everything about myself at that point, otherwise, I was never gonna make it."
"And that was so conflicting because here's somebody offering you your dream, but they're telling you that you're not good enough the way you are," Clayton went on to tell Gay Times. "You're talented, but who you are isn't good enough."
"They had me changing the way I walked, the way I spoke, the way I dressed, the way I answered questions," he said. "It got as petty as them saying, 'People need to see that you're into sports because they'll think that's more masculine, so why don't you go buy a sports hat, take some pictures in it, and make sure people see you in it.'"
Clayton, who starred in the gay porn drama "King Cobra," also detailed about his time in casting offices.
"There'd be calls after I went into casting offices like, 'Hey, this is how gay casting thought you came across today, so here's what you need to do to fix it.' I even had cast members screaming drunkenly in the middle of a room, 'Who here thinks Garrett is gay?' and then yelling at me for not having come out yet," he said. "I convinced myself that I was the problem, and I got into a really dark place for a couple of years.
"Then I went to therapy for about a year and a half to really sort through all the things I went through growing up and the situations I found myself in while in Hollywood," Clayton told the publication. "I got to work through all those conflicting things."
Clayton recently made headlines for reimagining "I Put a Spell On You" to celebrate the Halloween cult favorite "Hocus Pocus."