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Beauty Break: Connor Jessup Comes Out

by Nathaniel R

A special Gay Pride edition of our random "Beauty Break" series. Today we celebrate the very talented actor Connor Jessup who just turned 25 this week. We hope you know him from his incredible work in the second season of American Crime or the queer Canadian indie Closet Monster. Next up for Jessup is the British mystery/ thriller Strange But True (which just premiered at the Edinburgh Festival and will be released by CBS films in the US) and the Netflix adaptation of the family fantasy series Locke & Key (due later this year).

We've been enjoying Jessup on Instagram since his cinephilia is readily apparent. While he's been playing gay characters for some time now, he's officially come out himself, having felt guilty about never stating it publicly, and speaking of his characters from a "neutral" distance. Here's what he has to say after the jump, along with photos for your gayzing pleasure...

I knew I was gay when I was thirteen, but I hid it for years. I folded it and slipped it under the rest of my emotional clutter. Not worth the hassle. No one will care anyway. If I can just keep making it smaller, smaller, smaller.... My shame took the form of a shrug, but it was shame. I’m a white, cis man from an upper-middle class liberal family. Acceptance was never a question. But still, suspended in all this privilege, I balked. It took me years. It’s ongoing. I’m saying this now because I have conspicuously not said it before. I’ve been out for years in my private life, but never quite publicly. I’ve played that tedious game. Most painfully, I’ve talked about the gay characters I’ve played from a neutral, almost anthropological distance, as if they were separate from me. These evasions are bizarre and embarrassing to me now, but at the time they were natural. Discretion was default, and it seemed benign. It would be presumptuous to assume anyone would care, yeah? And anyway, why should I have to say anything? What right do strangers have to the intimate details of my life? These and other background whispers––new, softer forms of the same voices from when I was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.... Shame can come heavy and loud, but it can come quiet too; it can take cover behind comfort and convenience. But it’s always violent. For me, this discretion has become airless. I don’t want to censor––consciously or not––the ways I talk, sit, laugh, or dress, the stories I tell, the jokes I make, my points of reference and connection. I don’t want to be complicit, even peripherally, in the idea that being gay is a problem to be solved or hushed. I’m grateful to be gay. Queerness is a solution. It’s a promise against cliche and solipsism and blandness; it’s a tilted head and an open window. I value more everyday the people, movies, books, and music that open me to it. If you’re gay, bi, trans, two-spirit or questioning, if you’re confused, if you’re in pain or you feel you’re alone, if you aren’t or you don’t: You make the world more surprising and bearable. To all the queers, deviants, misfits, and lovers in my life: I love you. I love you. Happy Pride!

And more Connor Jessup photos for your pleasure.

Closet MonsterCloset MonsterAmerican Crime

American Crime

Falling Skies

Photographed by Craig McDean for Interview Magazine

Photographed by Dani BrubakerVogue photoshootUnknown photoshoot

And the rest of the photos are from his Instagram account... which we recommend following if you love actors who stan for auteurs. 

In addition to acting, Jessup has a production company Big & Quiet with his best friend. He's written and directed short films as well as a documentary on Thailand's most celebrated auteur Achiptapong Weerasethakul (of Tropical Malady and Uncle Boonmee fame).

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Reader Comments (10)

He was amazing in American Crime and very good in Closet Monster.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

Became a fan of him in American Crime and was very impressed with him in Closet Monster. Here's hoping he gets an even bigger breakthrough soon.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

What a thoughtful coming-out message. I wish I were half that introspective at 25.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

So amazing for him.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

So happy for him. I even teared up a bit. :)

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterblackccbaxter

His season in American Crime was one of the best things I've seen on television in a long time.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Pollari did it before. ❤

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFabio Dantas Flappers

I sat behind him at an Apichatpong retrospective! Didn't get to talk, but he seems like a very cool person, and what a great message this is.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

I knew it was just a matter of time, but was not expecting this sort of fulsome refinery. There is no petulance nor lack of cogency. Truth is such a stirring occasion when told by someone with a 'damn the torpedos' attitude, and a voice that has a timelessness so rare in a world that defines itself by the moment. Before acting, Conner Jessup was clearly a beautiful human being. Now he is unfettered. No closet. That can only be good. Life-affirming! It is no surprise that he and Apichatpong Weerasethakul became friends. They have probably been together, forever.

June 26, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIshmael

His performance in American Crime is so great--him and Lili Taylor have some dynamite scenes together. Very happy for him!

June 26, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoey M

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