“Prison Break” star Wentworth Miller came out as gay yesterday, by way of an open letter to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival, where he declined an invitation to attend as a guest of honor because of the Russian government’s heinous anti-gay legislation.
The actor and screenwriter, who is 41 years old (Wentworth, what’s your secret?!), sent this letter to festival organizers on Wednesday, explaining why he would not be attending:
“As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes. However, as a gay man, I must decline.
I am deeply troubled the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are systemically denied their basic right to live and love openly.
Perhaps, when and if circumstances improve, I’ll be free to make a different choice.”
The letter was published on GLAAD’s website, and as the organization puts it, Wentworth’s letter is a “bold show of support” to LGBT Russians “who are facing extreme violence and persecution.” It’s a big move for a working actor in Hollywood, yet he wants to show this moment is bigger than him. He isn't just taking a stand for himself. He’s taking a stand for everyone—a very admirable gesture.
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws include a ban on pro-LGBT “propaganda,” meaning public displays of affection between same-sex couples or supporting the gay community is illegal.