Actor Ben Whishaw On The ‘Courage’ It Takes To Come Out As Gay – VIDEO

Actor Ben Whishaw, who is set to take on the role of Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic, has spoken to The Sunday Times Magazine about the courage it takes to come out as gay.


Actor Ben Whishaw, who is set to take on the role of Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic, has spoken to The Sunday Times Magazine about the courage it takes to come out as gay.

Whishaw, who married his partner Mark Bradshaw last year, discussed the similarities between the character he plays in new movie Lilting and his own life.

In the movie, he plays a gay man struggling to come to terms with the death of his boyfriend and forced to tell his partner’s grieving mother about his relationship with her son for the first time.

On whether he was able to relate to someone who felt they couldn’t come out to their mother, Whishaw said:

"It is hard, I applaud anyone who does it. There is so much tension around doing something like that, that maybe you’re not quite thinking rationally. You can say absurd things because you are in a panic.

Asked about coming out to his own parents, he said:

"I identify with the character in Lilting in as much as I had a lot of fear in doing it for a long time…it takes courage and people have to do it in their own time, which is a negotiation you see happening in the film."

Watch a trailer for Lilting, AFTER THE JUMP


  1. says

    Incredibly moving. Telling a mother that you were her dead son’s husband and lover, when she had no idea, has to be a heartbreaking ordeal. Whishaw is perfect for the role. Seeing the tears on his face brought overwhelming emotion – and that English voice is amazing. Looks like a fine movie and I’ll search it out when it arrives.

  2. Jason B. says

    @ Ceem- Unnecessary and shallow comments like yours are irritating. It shows your complete lack of ability to see something through another’s eyes and experiences.

    Regarding the point of the story, I hope a day comes that this conversation is no different than discussing your plans for the day. It shouldn’t cause such angst and I believe what gay rights are are trying to do is make that possible. There was a day when something as innocuous as your favored hand was a trait that needed to be hidden. Getting rid of 2,000 years of damage caused by superstition based belief systems takes time.

  3. Me says

    Ceem and others a like just want to get some reaction here…

    here is mine..I feel sorry for all of you…happy…

    Anyways…would love to see this movie…

  4. Gigi says

    I came out when I was 18. I didn’t see it as brave at the time, merely necessary. My parents disowned me and would have nothing to do with for more than a decade. The brave part, as I see it now, was not letting their rejection destroy me. I made a life for myself apart from them.

    A good friend of mine didn’t come out. Instead he moved to the other side of the country, became a very successful doctor, fell in love and his that part of his life from his entire family. Despite the fact that they were very liberal and had many gay friends, he felt they wouldn’t accept that their only son was gay. He died of Aids. Still closeted from his family. They met his partner of more than 20 years for the first time at his funeral. Truly heartbreaking.

  5. UFFDA says

    This looks like a deeply touching and powerful film, CEEM has shown himself to be the opposite – shallow and weak. His other posts add a nasty cynicism and equivalent idiocy.

    Thanks for your contribution GIGI. What stories!…I’m glad you have done well.

  6. Derrick from Philly says

    @ GIGI,

    thank you for sharing that important story/lesson. Thanks.

    Oh, and GIGI, you were brave to come out and DEMAND respect from your family–even if it took 10 years for them to give that respect.

    I love these personal life stories on Towleroad because they are learning…well, lessons for younger vistitors to this blog.

  7. says

    first clamped eyes on him in PERFUME and have been madly in love with him ever since.

    kudos, brother. well said.

    and it is courage – it’s about being an adult and not a child, and meeting your challenges from a place of honesty and integrity.

    and yes, the panic – the things you start convincing yourself of whilst closeted. the excuses. the delusions. the idea of “oh, well, i don’t need to tell people because it doesn’t really matter” – which is of course and evasive lie. we don’t hide and avoid things that don’t matter – we hide and avoid things that we wear will matter too much, and negatively, to others.

    its’ that funny thing about Coming Out – once you’re Out, you finally start realizing how many lies you told in life before. all to serve the One Big Lie.

    well done, Whishaw. you’re awesome. except for that whole marrying-someone-that-wasn’t-me thing. for which i’ll try to forgive you.

  8. Profe Sancho Panza says

    He’s wonderful both onstage and on-screen. I’ve crushed on him since that Hamlet. Still cross that I didn’t make the London trip to see him with Judi Dench in Peter and Alice last year.

  9. Brandon H says

    There was in fact a LOT of tension when he came out…IN MAH PANTS!

    Seriously, that mans hair alone is enough to make me his personal sex slave.

  10. Neil says


    They were quoting his statement that “it takes courage.” Quotations deserve quotations marks, although a one-word quotation isn’t much.

  11. Rich-SD says


    Quotation marks around a single word usually indicate that the writer is using it ironically.

    However, since headlines are the 20th Century version of Tweets, a bit of license is called for.

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