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Celebrities / LGBT PopWrapped | Celebrities

Daniel Franzese Comes Out In A Heartfelt Letter Of Gratitude To His Mean Girls Character, Damian

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


04/22/2014 9:02 pm
PopWrapped | Celebrities
Daniel Franzese Comes Out In A Heartfelt Letter Of Gratitude To His Mean Girls Character, Damian
Media Courtesy of Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Nick Tucci

Staff Writer


There’s a funny double-standard in Hollywood when it comes to the portrayal of gay characters. Most roles depicting your “typical homo” come off as a caricature of stereotypes and sassy phrases. If someone is brave enough to put the pen to paper to create such a fabulous role, one could assume it will take an equally brave and confident actor to deliver the sass with finesse. Most people have all wondered if certain actors playing such believable characters were actually gay in “real life.” Daniel Franzese gave life to such a character in the Millennial classic, Mean Girls, back in 2004. However, the actor, who brought Tina Fey’s realistic GBF character to the big screen with such fervor, is just now coming out of the closet. Too little too late, some might think, assuming that he was always out and proud. How can someone who “wants their pink shirt back” with such conviction not be pulling from deep inside his rainbow heart? In a letter to his character from Mean Girls Damian, Franzese explains why he feared and admired the “too gay to function” teenager. (He also adds a P.S. to remind readers of the self-deprecating subtext of that phrase, which is refreshing to read in a culture where many shame others for simply being who they naturally are.) “You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor.  You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. It might've been easier to be gay growing up.” Speaking candidly, I came out to my friends and family at the age of fifteen, and I had little to no role models, other than the guys from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy maybe. (Don’t knock ‘em, those guys showed me how to redecorate my mom’s living room, match paisley to periwinkle, and apply hair product for the perfect coif full of secrets!) A couple of years later, Mean Girls was released and Damian’s role instantly bolstered my vernacular. Franzese details the contrary effect the movie had on his career, hitting what he called the “gay glass ceiling.” Certain “masculine” roles were withheld from his reach, at times he was not even permitted to read for them. The phobia became a part of his every-day routine, denying his homosexuality to press, deleting tweets, and trolling message boards. Daniel even reminisces about taking a female date to the premiere of Mean Girls, she his “unwitting beard.” Now the actor has much more clarity, with such remiss over his weak grasp on the position he was in after playing “one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet.” For some people in the public eye, it can be difficult to leverage the potential they have to be a beacon for so many others out there. “I was TERRIFIED to play this part.  But this was a natural and true representation of a gay teenager - a character we laughed with instead of at.” Share your stories and reactions in the comments! YOU GO GLEN COCO!

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