What is it like being an openly gay actor while in the entertainment industry? How does one make the decision to use their platform to speak for others who dont? Jordan Gavaris is sharing it all.
Gavaris, who played Felix Dawkins on Orphan Black and made a guest appearance on Orphan Black: The Next Chapter, joined hosts Stephanie Sebraw, Matt Marr, and Shiksha Mahtani on AfterBuzz TVs Orphan Black: The Next Chapter aftershow. In this AfterBuzz TV exclusive, Gavaris opened up about what its like to be queer in the entertainment industry, and how playing the role of Felix helped him become more open and confident about it.
Gavaris started off by talking about what he was like when he initially got the role of Felix Dawkins. He confessed that he was too busy trying to both understand the character as well as figure out how he wanted to portray him that he didnt have time to think what it really meant to be playing a queer character on tv.
Hes an openly queer character, not just gay, but hes quite gender queer, said Gavaris.
It was only after years of playing the character of Felix, that Gavaris began to reflect on how impactful of a character Felix really was.
Gavaris said [Felix] was a person who was a totally fictionalized character, but who I had a tremendous amount of love and admiration for.
He admitted that his teen self, who was still coming to terms with his own sexuality, would have probably really judged the character because of how confident, secure, and out of the closet Felix was. While reflecting, he realized how much he really loved Felix, as well as all those who Felix represented, and how this slowly helped him in his decision to use his platform to help the LGBTQ+ community.
I loved every Felix out there who I know exists, on a wide spectrum, that, um, I just reached a point where I was like, yeah, I think Im ready now. I think Im ready to talk, said Gavaris. Whatever little responsibility I have to use my voice, um, as best I can, I think im ready to do that. But it was scary.
There was a lot of pressure that came with being an out actor with a platform. The thought of being out to the world and then saying something he would later come to regret really scared Gavaris when he was in his early 20s and just started playing the role of Felix.
Our hosts followed up by asking him what it was like having to come out of the closet twice, first to his family, and then to the world. Gavaris talked about how the fear of coming out to his family wasnt because of them, for they were very understanding, but rather due to the fact that he had to actually make the declaration that he was gay. And then once he had come to fully embrace what Felix stood for, he had to come out all over again, but this time, publicly.
Coming out on a public stage, its, its just a weird thing to have to come out twice. Its not a bad thing. Its just a, just a weird thing. It was definitely a disorienting experience, but Im really glad I did it. Cuz I think, ultimately I survived it, so Im fine, explained Gavaris.
However, coming out to the world has its consequences. Gavaris discussed how it was crucial for there to be diversity in the roles available. He knows there are roles he hasnt been offered because hes an out actor, but he also knows there are roles hes been offered mainly because hes an out actor.
It gives me a very sort of healthy perspective into all the ways and areas we need to improve in the industry, and all the ways that it is working, Gavaris said in regards to how he felt about the aforementioned consequences.
He seemed positive about the direction in which the industry was headed, although it will take time for us to get there.
I am really looking forward to the time when we get to have queer characters doing, and its already happening, doing all kinds of things that have nothing to do with their sexual identity, said Gavaris.
That certainly would be ideal, dont you agree?
To check out the full interview with Gavaris, click on the link above!
To watch all five seasons of Orphan Black, go to Amazon Prime, and then listen to Orphan Black: The Next Chapter, on serialbox.com.