Mean Girls star Daniel Franzese has come out as gay in a touching letter to his film character Damian.
Posted on IndieWire.com, the letter thanks Damian for getting Franzese to the point where he would feel comfortable coming out. "I was twenty-six; you were sixteen," he writes. "You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor. You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I'd had you as a role model when I was younger. I might've been easier to be gay growing up."
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But Franzese also recognizes that playing fan-favorite character Damian was also a crutch. "There were industry people who had seen me play you in Mean Girls but never seen me read in an audition, but still denied me to be seen for 'masculine' roles," he continues. "Damian, you had ruined my life and I was really pissed at you. I became celibate for a year and a half. I didn't go to any gay bars, have any flings and I lied to anyone who asked if I was gay. I even brought a girl to the Mean Girls premiere and kissed her on the red carpet, making her my unwitting beard. Meanwhile, I was still in the closet. Deleting tweets that asked if I was gay, scrubbing IMDB message boards for any indication."
Still, Franzese says he's come out stronger on the other side. "I had the perfect opportunity in 2004 to let people know the REAL Daniel Franzese," he writes. "Now in 2014 - ten years later - looking back, it took YOU to teach me how to be proud of myself again. It's okay if no one wants to sit at the table with the 'art freaks.' Being a queer artist is one of my favorite things about myself. I have always been different and that's rad."
Read the full letter here.