‘Being Gay Is Worth Celebrating – I Wish I’d Figured That Out Sooner’

Actor Colton Haynes
Colton Haynes (image via Depositphotos)

Actor Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf, Arrow) took to social media Thursday night to share a photo he spent years trying to erase from the internet.

The image was used on the cover of the March 2006 issue of XY, a magazine aimed at young LGBTQ readers.

Haynes shares that he was a teenager and working as a model when the homoerotic photo was taken.

In his Instagram post, Haynes says for many years he was “incredibly ashamed” of the photo and worried that it would affect his career.

The 32-year-old says looking at the photo made him feel “sad” as it reminded of him of a time “before I was placed with voice & movement coaches to straighten me up for the cameras…before I learned to see my queerness as a liability.”

Haynes shares candidly he feels “jealous” of the boy he sees in the image: “so open, so free.” And he now realizes he “had to be taught that it wasn’t ok to be who he was.”

“Being gay is worth celebrating,” Haynes adds. “I wish I’d figured that out sooner, but I’m so glad I know it now. To everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community, I hope you celebrate yourselves this month & always, exactly as you are.”

The post has received over 570,000 likes on Instagram with several of Haynes’s famous friends chiming in with their support.

Actress Keke Palmer wrote, “Thank you for sharing your art. How beautiful you were then and now. I thank you for posting this and hate what you went through but so glad it’s made you a vessel to cast out the darkness with truth and light!!”

Michelle Visage (RuPaul’s Drag Race) replied “LOUD AND PROUD BABY”

Charlie Carver (Boys in the Band) sent some heart emoji love and actor/host Jonathan Bennett responded, “This is so powerful. I feel you Buddy. Love who you were then and love who you are now.”

Fortunately, Haynes is now much more comfortable in his own skin. His Instagram feed shows he recently did a photoshoot for GQ Thailand that looks pretty Pride-ful.

18 thoughts on “‘Being Gay Is Worth Celebrating – I Wish I’d Figured That Out Sooner’”

  1. I applaud Colton for his strength and openness in telling his story, his truth. I am appalled at those who would snipe at him — my hope is that this is a misplaced, extreme counter-reaction to celebrity culture in our society — because none of us are so far out of the woods, so to speak, that we should imagine ourselves free from danger. Without igniting a whole political debate here, the reversals to rights and freedoms wrought by your previous president in the U.S. should prove how precarious things still are.
    I remember that cover of XY and looking back at it in a digital collection, after Colton had come out, I wondered if that young, happy twink cover model might be him. He confesses that he tried to buy up copies to suppress its availability at some point, but with the digital age having dawned, he could not have done as much damage to anyone other than himself than he did. I am so glad he broke free of that trap.
    I used to watch him, too, as the tormented-tormentor tragic homoerotic villain on Teen Wolf, and as much as I lusted after the show’s hero played by Tyler Posey, I felt a kinship with Colton instantly that his skill at acting (and he is skilled) could not subfuse. Not knowing anything about what he has since told the world he was struggling with, I wondered how long it would be before he came out, hoping for the short-term for his sake even more than for the sake of those he could yet be a role model or mentor to in our community. Once again: I am so glad for him that he did come out and speak his truth, despite snipes here and gainsayers in the industry like Rupert Everett.
    We need more people like Colton to be brave enough, to stand up and be seen. At the time he took those photos for XY, as he says now ‘a happy youth who had not been taught to hate his own gayness’, but before he had decided he needed to bury them, I had already lost my battle as a public school librarian to include XY in our queer collection. A school board mandate and provincial government curriculum order notwithstanding, I was underminded by a semi-closeted self-hating teacher peer and overruled by homophobic school administrators who called the magazine and several other recommended materials “pornographic” because, guess what, shock of shocks, horror of horrors, they addressed actual sexual matters directly and honestly in terms a GLBTQ highschooler could understand. (The issue that Colton was a cover boy for, not yet conceived at that time, would have surely sent off the deep end.) These items, paid for by the publuc purse, were then covertly burned without any further discussion.
    This is exactly the fate that many would have still for any images of LGBTQ+ people today. For many, any discussion of our lives, our loves, our truths, are simply to be denied, disallowed, and if necessary destroyed. Decades ago, John Travolta sought to destroy all copies of an interview he did with Drum (not to be confused with Drummer) magazine on the topic of his homosexuality (I switch to this neutral language only because his camp remains litigious even after all these years). It was not so difficult to do.
    Our lives matter as much as any others’ and in every detail. We should be happy when people, everyday folk or celebrities like Colton, come out and speak up. As he wisely said: “Being gay is worth celebrating!”
    Be who you are. Be proud! 🏳️‍🌈
    Happy Pride Month to everyone!

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    • I was thinking the same thing! Haynes could certain tell – because he took the picture – beyond that? Looks like way too many white males from the back.

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    • LOL That IS his face in the photo — the only one you see IS his!! That’s a very young, very twink-ish Colton from way back in 2006.

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  2. At least Colton has accepted who he is. He’s happy and not suffering anymore. All so he is helping others who are suffering, with his experience and story. All of you who love to leave negative comments, what are you doing to make your selves and the world better????????

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  3. I applaud Colton for telling his truth. I’m only a few years younger than him and I remember in the early 2010s, society was still homophobic. Of course homophobia is still active but it wasn’t more accepting as today. Even in a more “liberal” industry who likes to tell and make money off of queer stories, they were not always fair towards Queer people. I did some stage acting in college and I too was told to butch up my voice and watch how I stand because they were too “femme” and I wouldnt pass as straight even if my character was gay or his orientation wasn’t even relevant. Even though 10 years seems like an eternity it wasn’t that long ago. People need to realize that many queer actors from the past had to be in a certain perception (like passing as straight or pretend you’re straight) in order to get booked. It still affects a lot of LGBTQ actors today. So if a gay actor is telling his truth he’s an attention seeker or depressed or a has- been. But when a straight actor plays gay he’s a trail blazer for the LGBTQ community, brave, and gets all the support. How about we start supporting our queer artists/ performers.

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  4. Incredible that so many straight people who hate gay people are leaving anti gay and offensive comments and yet they’re on a gay magazine / website. Makes me wonder? Hmnnnnnnnn.

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    • You need to put yourself in a better place. It’s never been an opt in/opt out kind of deal. Whatever you do, don’t take other people’s hatefulness down a rabbit hole with you, no matter their “justification “.

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    • Being gay or straight is by and of itself not chosen, of course. The celebration here has far more to do with the freedom not to be jailed for it or executed by the state.

      I’m truly sorry if you’re in a family or workplace situation where you’re being disowned, or perhaps a country where it’s still illegal, but offer you my hope that one day, you too will be able to celebrate with the rest of us, the emancipation from homophobia, including your own against yourself.

      No fight was ever won without people putting themselves in harm’s way.

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    • Life is hard, get used to it.
      Cultural ignorance & biases makes it even harder for gay people (& all minorities for that matter) – much harder – but that’s not going to change overnight & nobody is going to live your life for you. To blame your orientation or hate yourself because of the ignorance of others is a weakness you must overcome. Why? Because there’s no reason for it! There is no need for you to bow to backwardness. Recognizing this fact is what “pride” is all about. Under the balloons & music & all the hoopla, pride month is just a way for gay people to say, “I’m here & I matter & fuck you if you don’t get it.”
      Give yourself a break. Take a breath. Maybe change your environment. Focus on things that interest you. It will get better.

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  5. How could anyone NOT know that he was gay???? Seriously, he looks like a drag queen. Another failed actor wanting to be made relevant! Hilarious!!!

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    • Who the hell are you. It’s a story about how he got to where he is. Not everyone can accept there truth. For you to take the time to comment on a random article about his career clearly he’s made it. Coz there nobodies like you you who have opinions about his work and sexuality. Grow the hell up, i have never left a comment on a something like this but I’m sick to death of people like you you sit behind their keyboards thinking “people must want to hear my my opinion” no no one wants to read you homophobic/ probably racist sexist thoughts. Next time save yourself some time and get the hell over it on your own.

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    • Wow the jealousy is huge here. First off, he is not a failed actor, just look at his resume, and second, he’s comfortable with his feminine side and as an actor he can play up his masculine side. Seems like you are the one with issues.

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    • Reading your reply is shocking. Why would you take the time to write something so hateful. Imagine you’re old and bitter so you want to tear him down but you’re not. We see you for who you are. He’s not a failed actor. He’s been in two TV series and in movies. His career will go on and you’ll be posting negative things about wonderful, successful people. What a pity you are.

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