Nice to see Stonewall UK co-founder, Ian Mc Kellen (Magneto in the X-Men films, Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and numerous Shakespearean roles) is celebrating 30 years since he came out as a gay man in 1988, on BBC radio. On Saturday (27th) he tweeted:
“I’ve never met a gay person who regretted coming out – including myself. Life at last begins to make sense, when you are open and honest. Today is the 30th anniversary of the BBC radio discussion when I publically said I was gay. So I’m celebrating!”
In a subsequent interview, in 1998, that discussed the 29th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, McKellen commented,
I have many regrets about not having come out earlier, but one of them might be that I didn’t engage myself in the politicking.
He has said of this period:
My own participating in that campaign was a focus for people [to] take comfort that if Ian McKellen was on board for this, perhaps it would be all right for other people to be as well, gay and straight.
The context for this was that he had become active in opposing the then proposed Section 28 of the Local Government Act, which prohibited local authorities from promoting homosexuality, and which was still in force until 2000 in Scotland and 2003 in England and Wales. Section 28 never applied in Northern Ireland.
Happy Anniversary, Ian!