Hello &

Hello &

Wentworth Earl Miller III

Wentworth Earl Miller III



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Straight From The Heart!

It’s not every day when we come across or meet a person who has such a profound effect on our lives and I can honestly say that Went is one such person.  He has moved my life and touched my heart so deeply with his words of truth, his honesty, his warmness and his open heartedness. 

Went posted his draft of a speech on his FB Page that he was going to make at a second event for the Human Rights Campaign that unfortunately he couldn’t make due to other commitments and more’s the pity that he didn’t, because his speech would have made a remarkable and unforgettable mark if he had.   When you read it I’m sure you’ll completely agree.


July 16, 2015 at 8:11pm

In 2014 I was invited to speak at a second event for the Human Rights Campaign. I wasn't able to make the dates work, unfortunately, but didn't figure that out until after I'd already started drafting what I would say. Below is a rough copy of the remarks I might have made that night. - W.M.

"Why are gay guys always lookin' around?"

Someone asked me that once.

I said, "What do you mean?" They said, "You know - at the bar, at the ATM, at church on Sundays... I feel like you guys are always lookin' around. Scanning the room. Like, 'Hey. Who's here? Anybody cute?' What's up with that?"

I found the question offensive. The stereotype suspect.

I've never been that guy who's always lookin' around. And I was definitely not that guy like, 5 minutes ago. Cough cough.

No, in all seriousness, if I'm being honest, it is something I've noticed in my own behavior. When I walk into a room I do a quick scan. It's automatic. Ingrained. Wherever it is I happen to be, I do find myself lookin' around. But I think for me - maybe for others too - it's not about checking out who's cute. Or not just about that.

I think it's rooted in something else.

I think I do it because I feel like I need to see who's here. Who's passing by. Who's around that corner. Who's standing behind me. Who's like me. Who's not.

And I've asked myself - when did that start? When did I get into this habit of... we'll call it "surveillance."

Probably when I first realized that not all rooms are safe.

Everyone here has spent time in a room that didn't feel safe. Maybe that was way back when. Back when you were a kid. In the classroom. Or at home, in your bedroom, down the hall from your parents. Maybe that's today, right now, at the office.

That's how many of us live. Moving from room to room. Lookin' around. Trying to figure out if it's safe or not.

And it's exhausting. Isn't it. Some part of you. Constantly vigilant. Alert to danger. Possible threat. "Who's here? What did they mean by that? What's the subtext? Can I let my guard down? Even for a second?"

I used to have this theory... If I walked into a store and approached the counter and the guy behind the register said, "Can I help you?" but didn't bother to look up and look me in the eyes, then he probably wasn't gay. Because that's a luxury. Isn't it. Not feeling like you need to see who it is you're talking to. The assumption of safety.

My high school had this really cool thing where every fall, each class would put on an original musical and compete against the other classes. It was a lot of fun, a lot of people participated, and in my junior year I was the male lead. And we spent weeks getting ready for this thing. Everyone all nervous and excited. It was a big deal. It felt like a big deal.

And a couple nights before the competition there was the dress rehearsal. That's where you got to see what the other classes had put together that year. What you were up against.

And it was traditional that during your dress rehearsal you'd make fun of the other classes. Little jokes and gags - most of them pre-planned - about their sets or their costumes or whatever. Just to let off steam after all the hard work.

It was not traditional to make fun of people. To single someone out and make them the butt of the joke.

So my class - the junior class - we put on our show and I sing a little and dance a little and the show goes really well. We're really proud of our work. I'm proud of our work. Then we all sit down to watch one of the other shows. And somewhere in the middle of it, a student comes out on stage and does an impression. Of me.

And it's this... pantomime. This parody of "gayness."

It lasted seconds. But felt longer.

I am deep in the closet at this point. Paranoid about keeping my secret. But suddenly it's like somebody made this big neon sign, like an arrow, and they're pointing it right at the one thing I don't want anyone thinking about or paying attention to. Myself included.

That night was a while ago. Over two decades. But I can still remember the hot-sick wave of shame, humiliation, and fear that went flooding up from my feet to the top of my head. Sitting in this room packed with a couple hundred people I saw every day. Friends. Teachers. Everyone I knew. All of them here to witness this personal nightmare come true.

To the credit of that audience, when it happened, there were boos.

But there was laughter too.

I don't know how, but I stayed in my seat for the rest of the show. And when it was over I left the auditorium, walked to a hallway at the back of the school, and lost it. I just sobbed.

Then it was like, "I gotta get outta here." But it's nighttime now and all the side exits are locked. So I have to leave through the main exit at the front of the building, with a whole crowd milling around outside. And as I push my way through people can see I'm upset. I couldn't hide it. Which also filled me with shame. To appear vulnerable in front of my peers.

To the credit of the school, the next day - and this was back in the late 80s, probably pretty early for this kind of sensitivity and awareness - the next day a school administrator sat me down with the students involved.

They apologized. I accepted.

They were sincere. So was I.

Still, that spring, when my family got an opportunity to move out-of-state, when my parents came to me and said, "Would you mind transferring high schools? It would mean spending your senior year away from all your friends, all the people you've been going to class with for the last three years," I said, "No." I said, "I don't mind. Let's go." So we did.

We are always - all of us - looking for rooms that feel safe.

This room feels safe. But I think we can agree it's still the exception. We're breathing rarefied air. For millions of men, women, and children, this room is a fantasy. They don't know what it's like to sit at these tables. To not have to be looking around. Wondering who's here.

The Human Rights Campaign built this room. Logistically and energetically, consciously and carefully, the HRC put this room together so we could be here tonight enjoying community. Support. Safety. That's what they're doing out there too. Building rooms that are safe. One by one. In homes and schools and restaurants and the workplace. In the halls of government.

And that takes time. Energy. Determination. Resources. It takes generosity and giving. Safe rooms don't happen by accident. They're built. By people like you. Sitting in rooms like this. So that someone else, sitting somewhere else, doesn't have to sit there forever.

On their behalf - on my own behalf - I say, "Thank you."


"Senate Fails to Pass Critical Protections for LGBT Youth"

"Congress had a big chance to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination. It didn't."

"Few School Districts Have Anti-Bullying Policies Protecting LGBT Students"

#FanArt by amyisms

I’d like to thank you my dearest Went, for sharing your struggles and pain, your insightfulness and your courage with everyone who is battling in their lives today.  You are such an inspiration to everyone and I’m so deeply grateful to you for everything that you continue to do to make this world a better place to live in.  

Went you are MY ‘safe room’ to come to … every single day.  Thank you.

 I love you
♥ ♥

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