For Gay Pride Month, Billboard asked numerous pop culture luminaries to write ‘love letters’ to the LGBTQ community. Below, actor and model — and star of Lifetimes’s UnREAL — Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman shares his. Read more Pride Month love letters here.
Coming of age as a young queer man of color, it was a rarity to see any reflections of myself portrayed in mainstream media. Turning on the television or going to the movies was an escape into the imagination, yet it did not allow me a place of true connection to what I was viewing on the screen in front of me. It became increasingly clear to me from a very young age that I would need to have a hand in filling that void.
The more queer characters I play over my years of working as an actor, and the more I see other young artists stepping up with the same intention I have, to make space for the voices of a generation of people who may not fit the status-quo, the more it inspires me to keep going. Every fan interaction I have when someone tells me they can look to their television screens and see themselves reflected in me is a dream come true. Each time I turn on my own television screen and see reflections of myself in other courageous young LGBTQ identifying actors and artists, I know that the dream is expanding. That would not be possible without LGBTQ Pride. Celebrate yourself and the world will catch up.