Ugly Betty Actor Michael Urie: Queer But Not Gay

Ugly Betty actor talks about his sexuality in a new interview with The Advocate as the play he is starring in, The Temperamentals, about early gay rights activist Harry Hay, prepares for its third engagement.

Urie "I’ve never been in. I’ve never said I was
straight, and I’m not saying I’m gay now. I never lie, and I’ve never
shied away from the topic. I’ve certainly chosen through my work to do
things that promote the rights of LGBTQ people. I am not a
hypocrite—certainly not now."

Urie says he identifies as "queer":

"I’ve been in a relationship for a while now, and if you just met the
two of us together we’d be ‘gay.’ But that somehow
means anything that happened before [we met] didn’t count—and I don’t
feel that way. I know that some people feel that way. They were with
women, but it always felt wrong. But it didn’t for me. It felt right at
the time. It didn’t work out, but it also didn’t work out with other
men—many times. That’s why ‘gay’ never seemed right….Certainly there was a point where I was like, I don’t know how long Ugly Betty
is going to last and how well it’s going to do, and I might want some
real anonymity if it ends quickly. I was also never one to seek out
publicity or attention, and I basically didn’t want to be labeled. That
kind of attention could turn ugly. I guess if I wasn’t in a
relationship with a man and I tried to tell people I was queer, it
would appear to be a lie or a cop-out—à la college 10 years ago, when
people believed in that notion of ‘bi now, gay later.’ But things are
different now. I’m much more comfortable, and I’m in a relationship
now. I’m not as worried about a future for myself."


  1. Henry Holland says

    I wouldn’t be quite as rude as Mike :-) but yeah, it’s a classic description of someone who is bisexual. I don’t believe the lie that “all bisexuals are closet cases waiting to come out as totally gay”, I wish people that like sex with both genders would say “I’m bisexual” instead of doing the tortured semantics thing that Mr. Urie does.

  2. Joe says

    Look at me, I’m so introspective and mysterious. I’m not gay, I’m queer. I’m smarter than you too.

  3. Cole says

    Bisexual? What kind of girl would date him? Does he really think he is fooling anyone? He screams “Gaaaayyyyy” the second he speaks.

  4. Yuki says

    Er, not to be a typical “there are no bisexuals!” moron, but… “Oh, I thouuuught I liked women before but then it felt wrong and guys feel right!”. Honey, you’re gay.

  5. JR says

    OK, so his statement is a little confusing, but I do get it to a degree. And for you guys that insist on labeling, that’s where his point of view comes from. Any ‘gay’ man that has had a sexual relationship (or maybe just sex) with a woman and enjoyed it, is always somehow considered ‘queer’ by gay men who are repulsed by the notion of going anywhere near a vagina. It’s sort of the same thing straight guys do when they react to the notion of putting a dick in their mouths. Know any straight guys who have had sex with a guy but are not at all ‘gay’? Oh right, then we have bisexuals! Labeling is stupid whether it is done by a majority or by a minority. How many interviews has anyone heard by openly gay people who have said that they were being called gay before they even really know what it meant? Seriously. We know what it means, but if you feel as though you HAVE to identify with gay, why does everyone else have to follow your guidelines? The whole thing is just a bit silly.

  6. Rami says

    I identify as 100% gay, yet I have had relationships with girls that were 100% real, sexual, and not awkward. Doesn’t make me bi. I’m gay. I think what I was when I dated the girl was “young” and “horny,” not “bi.”

  7. says

    Did anyone see “Ugly Betty” last night? There was a scene where he calls Betty’s boyfriend a quitter and Betty’s boyfriend calls him a “pansy.” No one tells Betty’s boyfriend that is homophobic or bigoted. Some gay friendly show, huh?

  8. Mr. E says

    Wow, all you queens need to join the 21st century. It is perfectly OK for him to identify as ‘queer’ rather than ‘bi’ or ‘gay.’ Get over yourselves and your internalized homophobia. Yes, that’s what it is. And, Joe, he probably is smarter than you.

  9. TANK says

    Yeah, labeling is just so stupid…categorization is for the “WEAK” who like to “THINK”. Without labeling and categorization, thinking is prohibited. YAY FOR YOU ANARCHISTS who promote…nothing.

  10. nick says

    Interesting that only U.S. male actors seem to have a problem identifying as gay. The rest of us are fine with it. If I was his bf I’d be so pissed off right now. We really need to start making the real heroes of our community into celebrities instead of performers and entertainers who worry more about their portfolios than anything else.

  11. Robert says

    I agree with JR. Labeling just helps us identify the issue, when sexuality is much more complicated than that. Just cause he doesn’t see the reason to call himself gay or bisexual doesn’t mean you have to judge him.

    And DONT FORGET!, I watched the episode and I noticed that to, but I actually don’t think its very much uncalled for since Marc started it by calling him a quitter without being provoked. He deserved it, imo.

  12. LostBoy68 says

    >Did anyone see “Ugly Betty” last night? There was a scene where he calls Betty’s boyfriend a quitter and Betty’s boyfriend calls him a “pansy.” No one tells Betty’s boyfriend that is homophobic or bigoted. Some gay friendly show, huh?< I think he called him “fancy” …

  13. nick says

    p.s. I take my queue from straight guys. You don’t hear some indecisive straight actor saying, “I let some guy blow me when I was 16, so I guess you’d have to call me queer because I don’t really like using the word gay. Blech!

  14. Grimmlok says

    Oh god, another one of those “I don’t like labels, i’m an individualist, and even though the entirety of humanity categorizes, judges, and organizes things based on labels, I’m not going to buy into it” fags.

    Get over yourself. You aren’t the great individualist. You’re just another cocksucker with delusions of pretension.

  15. TANK says

    Sexuality is much more complicated than the issue (viz., sexuality)….?

    It’s just so mysterious, isn’t it? It’s magic! Like jesus…lol

  16. Chal says

    Whether he wants to call himself gay, bi or unsure is his business, just like it’s mine to call him shallow, boring and self-absorbed.

  17. rafi says

    …Are there really that many of you who think bisexuality couldn’t possibly exist because you happen to be 100% gay?

  18. says

    Come on, now. What he said wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t like he was trying to somehow deny the fact that he likes to do it with guys…

    I do, indeed, think it is harder to ‘come out’ as bisexual than it is gay, because not only will straight people just assume you’re gay, but gay people either will too, or won’t accept you. While I do absolutely think some gay people first come out as ‘bi’ really young, because they have a tough time embracing themselves, many bisexual people really are just bisexual.

  19. TANK says

    Yeah, it’s harder to come out as bi…because after all, the heterosexual privilege that most of them eventually embrace is just horrible…ask any heterosexual couple…the discrimination is not to be tolerated!

  20. daftpunkydavid says

    i for one admire his courage in identifying the way he does in the face of such animosity from his fellow lgbt members…

  21. crispy says

    The whole statement is a wreck. Like this part…

    “I was also never one to seek out publicity or attention”

    Then why the fuck did you audition for a primetime TV show?

    I think the reason so few of us are willing to give him the bisexual benefit of doubt is because he so easily segs from discussing his sexuality into discussing his career path. Clearly, they are congruent upon one another.

  22. JR says

    one last thing… I love the fact that even though he openly admits to being in a relationship with a man, which for all intents and purposes means that he’s homosexual, it’s just not enough for all the bitter queens out there who INSIST that he has to call himself gay. Who’s really the one with the issues here?

  23. says

    Having followed Michael on Twitter, he seems to be a pretty levelheaded guy (and he was really really really good in The Temperamentals). I get where he’s coming from and I think he is within his rights to call himself queer. I know lots of people–bi, gay, wtf–who like the queer label. I have often used it myself.

    I think the important thing is he’s not trying to pass as straight. He’s not our enemy, folks.

  24. David in Houston says

    I don’t really understand the difference between “bi” and “queer”. They’re both labels. He can call himself a kumquat for all I care.

  25. Rich says

    Bi has become so tainted by assumptions that i don’t find his self-labeling as annoying as others. Bi doesn’t mean 50/50, gay doesn’t necessarily have to preclude having had satisfying relations with a woman. BTW–he was great in “The Temperamentals”. The first act of the play, in particular, is excellent.

  26. HW In SoCal says

    If you don’t want to talk about being gay, then maybe you shouldn’t sit for an interview with The Fucking Advocate.

  27. PearlsBeforeSwine says

    I think Michael Urie is quite charming in his role on Ugly Betty. He is quite young and I expect he doesn’t want any career he has to end when Ugly Betty stops, which might happen if he gets typecast as a gay man. I suspect his agents probably put a lot of pressure on him to keep quiet.

    Sean Hayes might be his mentor.

  28. John says

    It’d be great if all the people making the “Eh no, you’re GAY” comments listed their ages. I’d be interested to know if it’s a generational thing.

    Michael Urie considers himself a member of LGBTQ community. He’s hardly trying to “pass” as str8.

    And to anyone who says bisexuals choose the bi label to enjoy the social benefits of being str8 have no idea about bisexuals. Distrust from both gays and str8s is the usual experience, not acceptance into the str8/gay fold.

  29. JH says

    The Q in LGBTQ stands for Queer (and also sometimes “Questioning”). He just self-identified as someone who is a member of our community. Are we really to a point where calling ourselves queer means we’re not gay enough?

  30. David B. 2 says

    NPH tells me that honesty is the best policy — through his actions and words.

    His example shows that some people are not ready to be honest — they are not evil — they just haven’t reached a place where they can be honest with others — about whatever.

    Urie sounds like he is not there yet, whatever his choice of sex for a relationship or just sex.

  31. says

    pearls, if Urie was afraid of typecasting he wouldn’t be off-Broadway in The Temperamentals playing Rudi Gernreich.

  32. alguien says

    you hos are soooo predictable. the minute someone expresses a sense of discomfort about labelling themselves you all start frothing at the mouth and going all hateful on his ass.

    just how objectionable is it that, even though he’s currently in a relationship with another guy, he doesn’t want to use the “BIG G” he’s all of a sudden “THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD!!!”

    get over it bitches.

  33. PistolPetey says

    Wow, the comments on the page are (for the most part) much better than on page 1.

    +1 DaftPunkDavid, JR, Alex, JH, and John

  34. TANK says

    Yeah, john…generational. Bet dollars to donuts I’m younger than you, old man. I don’t know if he’s gay, but he’s sure not straight. So that leaves bi. Nothing wrong with that. And the rest of you post pomo bitches who decry labels should save that shit up for the bilerico project.

  35. says

    An example of not shying away from the topic: “I have a boyfriend/partner. I used to have a girlfriend/partner. I don’t really worry about it. The end.”

    See how easy that was, Michael?

  36. Kyle says

    Bi, my ass. He’s gay. He’s just one more of us that was taught from the time he could be taught that gay was a horrible thing to be. Even when we come out, we carry that baggage around, which explains the “I’m gay, but I’m not like other gays” bullsh*t. Talk to any guy who has just come out, and he’ll have nothing nice to say about gay folk and will spew every negative stereo type there is. That’s why we shouldn’t tolerate closeted folks: they perpetuate the belief that there is something wrong with being gay.

  37. Matty says

    I completely agree with him. If people want to say they’re queer, go right ahead. Margaret Cho even said herself that calling her bisexual would be false since ‘bi’ means two and there are more than two sexes that she is attracted to (such as transgendered, intersex people, etc.) People need to get off their high horses.

  38. qjersey says

    This is why I hate identity politics.
    Doesn’t matter what you call yourself, if you are currently persuing or having a same sex relationship, you are “not worthy” and “less than” in the eyes of too many close minded “religious folks.”

    That said…if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, people are gonna call it a duck.

  39. JCNYC says

    Why is this pissing everyone off? He is not denying that he’s in a relationship with a man. He is not calling himself straight. He is sitting for an interview with The Advocate. Why are you all spouting off like Anne Coulter? He’s our friend in the–wait for it–LGBTQ community. I know you all can read. Do we need to spell it out for you? We’re a much bigger group than gay men. I’d swear I was in a Fox News forum…

  40. says

    What I hate about “identity politcs” is that Straight isn’t seen as an “identity.”

    Michael you’re a brilliant actor and the whole world adores your Big Fluffy Self. PLEASE get over it and get out of your own way Miss Thing!

  41. J says

    I knew him when he was in high school but haven’t seen him in a decade or so.

    I agree that the quote is a trainwreck, but I can attest to a few things about Michael: 1) He’s very smart. 2) He’s a really, really nice guy. 3) He’s totally dedicated to his craft. As a HS student, he undoubtedly had aspirations, but he never struck me as being driven by fame or publicity.

    I have no first-hand knowledge about his sexuality. I don’t remember who (or if) he dated. I always assumed he was gay, but that was strictly an impression. (Or maybe I was just wishing he were and that he’d choose me!)

    Gay? Bi? Queer? I don’t know. Let him take his time.

  42. Jeffrey says

    He gives like 4 or 5 different excuses why he doesn’t think he should be called gay. He should just pick one and stick with it. That might at least sound a little more convincing.

  43. Bitches, please! says

    Who needs gay bashers when so many of you do such a good job of it yourselves? Let no one ever tell you that you are underachievers in being vicious bitter queens.

  44. Grimmlok says

    1) I love the “old bitter queen” thing. Because anybody who disagrees with the pretentious “i don’t like labels” emo retards is apparently old, bitter and a queen. How about none of the above, and we just see through the angsty teenage crap of putting on airs?

    2) We’re bashing him? No, we’re calling someone on saying something stupid. It wouldn’t matter if he was straight, gay, “queer”, purple, or from mars. What he said was idiotic.

  45. Patrick says

    These negative queer-bashing comments from self-identified gays make me sick. If they represent “the gays” I’d rather be queer. Thank goodness young queer kids have role models like this actor that they can look up to.

  46. TJ says

    @ Grimmlok

    Pretentious? Angsty teenage crap? Emo retard?

    Clearly, for some, labels are VERY necessary tools. Or maybe those who get so insulting about those who resist labels ARE tools. Or maybe there are other options, but let’s just keep it to 2, shall we? It will be so much easier that way. Let’s boil it down to “I’m right” and “Anyone with a different opinion is wrong.”

    Aren’t labels, and stereotyping, wonderful? They free up so much cognitive energy for more important matters!

  47. mike in houston says

    Michael was excellent in WTC View as another gay character. I’m glad he’s come out officially whether as a G or a Q.

    Openly GLBTQ actors currently playing GLBTQ characters on television:
    1. Chris Colfer (Glee)
    2. Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
    3. Michael Urie (Ugly Betty)
    4. Rex Lee (Entourage)
    5. Scott Evans (One Life to Live)

  48. Greg says

    There’s a generation of guys who grew up knowing they liked guys but not seeing themselves fit into what they saw as a lockstep “gay culture”. Some of those guys are internally phobic, and others are thinking that labels actually mean anything, so they try to be careful about how they label themselves. If I got asked about my sexuality enough times I might start noodling around with different terms, especially if I started to see assumptions made about me that weren’t correct.

  49. BuckeyeWxGuy says

    I think of the word “gay” as a political title. Anyone can be a homosexual (a man who prefers sex with men), but it takes real courage to accept the label of “gay”. Larry Craig didn’t have it, Rock Hudson didn’t have it, and now Michael Urie doesn’t have it. Makes me realize what a hero NPH is to the gay community.

  50. Jai says

    “Bisexual? What kind of girl would date him?”

    My question would be what kind of gay man would date Cole?

  51. anon says

    If you use language you end up substituting one “label” (adjective, really) for another. I’m sure Urie rejects all labels, like white, male, American, young, because, you know, they are all, you know, just soooo limiting. And I’m sure it has nothing to do with his fear for his career either. He’d give it all up just to remain “queer” when the gays end his career due to discrimination.

    And of course we never criticize the labels put on us by those that hate us, like “fag” because everyone is sooo entitled to their opinions, which is why we never debate labels at all.

  52. JR says

    ‘but it takes real courage to accept the label of “gay”‘

    Courage comes in many forms. Accepting a label for the sake of anyone’s acceptance doesn’t really sound like courage to me. But to each his own. If climbing into a box makes you feel like a hero, good for you. Seems to me, based on so many negative reactions to Urie’s statement, it probably takes a lot more courage to stand up against the dogma of a group of homos and go with what you feel is right for you. I mean seriously, you would think that he said something like all gays are going to burn in hell. You all need to lighten the fuck up. :)

  53. Snottyboy says

    I would be really insulted if my boyfriend told people he wasn’t gay. Because having my dick in his mouth makes him pretty damn gay.

    I do believe bisexuals exist. Geeze, some of them are my friends. But I don’t see this guy as bi. And from what I am reading here many agree; he is a big ol’ homo.

    And I agree that it is entirely his business to be afraid to say he is gay. And its entirely my business to find that really insulting.

  54. Tralfaz says

    “You bitter old queens”

    “I’m so sick of these emo twinks”

    “There’s no such thing a Bi”

    “I think I’ve got a stick shoved so far up my ass I can pick my teeth”

    99% of you mother fuckers in here need to get fucked more.

  55. says

    AHH HAHAHAH people making fun of some dude because he decides to transgress the homonormative binary of GAY//STRAIGHT. wow how accepting of you all!

    sexuality is a choice, so is what you call it. you’re not forced to do anything – whether it be have sex with someone of the same or opposite gender. you’re not even forced to have sex at all, you could be asexual! but i thought queer people accepted everybody and the choices they make, not just some people for calling their choices something different than others’.

  56. ... says

    i gotta say, i can’t get over the amount of rude, nasty, bitchy comments on this site. grow up, people. you have no control over urie’s life, and he’s lucky that you aren’t. move on, shut the hell up, and let him identify as he wishes – last i checked, your narrow definitions of what is and what isn’t don’t really matter. move along.

  57. TANK says

    “sexuality is a choice, so is what you call it.”

    Go back to bilerico, crazypants. Take your biologically vacuous queer theory “idears” with ya, champ.

  58. Gabe R L says

    I’ve always thought that we gay men don’t need to worry about the insults and hatred of the mainstream community all the time; often the biggest threat is inside the community. The result of self-loathing, I guess.

  59. kiwifrench says

    Queer is a perfectly acceptable orientation and is a lot more fluid than just being “bisexual.” Bisexual implies that you’re just attracted to males and females, but not trans identified people. It’s just reinforcing the sexual binary that there are boys and there are girls, but everything else is just wrong and unnatural – that they’re either doing it by choice or that they’re freaks of nature. Sound familiar to you? As gay men, you should know what discrimination is like so don’t immediately dismiss something that you don’t identify with.

  60. MeMyselfI says

    When I read the article, I wondered what his hangup was- why can’t he just say he’s Bi?

    Then I read the comments. A bunch of a-holes who can’t accept that he’s bi, and are trying to force him into a “Gay” label that just does not fit him.

    People, grow up. If you are gay, fine. If you are straight, fine. But realize those are not the only two options.

  61. Fox says

    @Mike in Houston – “Currently” doesn’t really apply to Scott Evans, Michael Urie, or Luke Macfarlane. Evans hasn’t been on “One Life to Live” for over three years, and both “Ugly Betty” and “Brothers & Sisters” ceased production in 2010 and 2011, respectively. But Sean Hayes will be starring in “Sean Saves the World” debuting in early October. And if you’re into British shows, gay actors, Kieron Richardson and P.J. Brennan, currently play gay characters on “Hollyoaks.”

  62. Sean Carrigg says

    First, I’d like to say that I’m a man who loves men.

    Second: Grow up, all of you. I am horrified to see how intolerant and IGNORANT gay people can be… remember, you are the people who are constantly pushing for equal rights! So show some respect for those who are different from you, for you are not the only people who are “different” from the rest of society. I hope one day you all realize that labels are truly meaningless and just a form of security. How bigoted and hypocritical of you! Geez. Sexuality is MUCH more complicated than the binary system our society pushes on us. People are free to label themselves AS THEY SEE FIT. I APPLAUD Michael Urie for that. “Queer” just means he loves men but also has the potential to love women… and NO, that is not bisexuality. Giving in to the binary systems of gay/straight, male/female, black/white, etc. only alienates people further and strengthens stereotypes…is that what we want? NO!!! So grow up and have the courage to, yes, treat people as individuals. Non-straight people really aren’t that different thatn straight people, regardless of what we like to think. GROW UP!!!