In a new GQ HYPE interview, FELLOW TRAVELERS stars Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bomer open up to GQ’s Raymond Ang about their new film, their approach to religion, dismantling the systems of Hollywood, and the responsibility felt to use their platform for queer liberation.
…Bailey and Bomer on how they approach religion with their queer identities: Religion is “the voice of shame but also [a source of] relief”
Like many queer people, Bomer and Bailey have both had to negotiate religion within their queer identities. “It took me a long time to dismantle it and to question what I was being told,” Bailey tells GQ. “Religion is interesting because it’s the voice of the shame but also [a source of] relief. There was this person that I could speak to—and I definitely did have that full conversation with a higher power. But the contradiction is brutal. To really lean into that as a gay kid who’s not born into a gay family, you see both sides of what religion can provide, which is scathing judgment—as I felt it looking back—but also a real space for catharsis and nourishment.”
Bomer says he has an individualized approach to religion: “It’s something that I’ve found for myself over years and years of exploration. It’s just highly personal that way.” Bomer is proud to have raised his kids in a truly intersectional environment. “They go to an Episcopal school, but they’re in school with Muslim kids, with Jewish kids,” he tells GQ. “We gave them that experience and then let them find their own way from there.”
…On being an openly gay actors and dismantling the systems of Hollywood
In the past, Bomer has discussed the way doors closed on him even as he was being celebrated for being an out gay actor. Now, he tells GQ, “I choose just to never look back in anger about anything. Ultimately, my career is a lot richer because I decided to be open with who I am.” Bailey adds: “It’s the people, the gatekeepers who are now going, ‘We are going to make this [queer] story,’” Bailey says. “This narrative that gay people have to be closeted in order [for a project] to be commercial and in order for things to be interesting to people—it’s been dismantled. But it’s slow because it’s not just straight people who think that—I think everyone believed that in the system of Hollywood.”
Bailey says he “feels the responsibility” to use his platform to advocate for queer liberation
When fame found Bailey, he had a clear idea of what he wanted to accomplish with his platform. “I feel the responsibility immeasurably,” Bailey says. “I get it when people are saying you create a chair and bring people [to the table].” He talks about the connection between the civil rights movement and the queer liberation. “The Black queens are the ones who really started to fight,” he says. “It’s amazing to feel politically activated. And if there’s any project to do that, it’s going to be Fellow Travelers. It will change the way I see myself in and the world I live in.”
[Photo Credit: Quil Lemons/GQ]
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