Jim Parsons is one of the highest-paid gay actors in Hollywood, but it hasn't always been easy for him to celebrate his identity. In an interview with Variety for their inaugural Power of Pride issue (he graces the cover alongside Hannah Gadsby, Billy Eichner, Don Lemon, Asia Kate Dillon, and Mj Rodriguez), Parsons reveals he used to be too scared to attend Pride celebrations.
"The sight of pride parades frightened me, because I knew that there were plenty of people around me -- whether they were in my life or I just was aware of them -- that derided this show of pride," he admitted, something that stemmed from being young and closeted. After his first queer relationship, he knew "that there was no choice left but to deal with this, because to not let them in on this person I had met was to officially start putting up these lifelong barriers."
When he was working as an actor in New York, his "only feelings were, I'm going to avoid that area of town because I don't like crowds."
Now, his feelings about pride -- the emotion, not the celebration -- are a bit less fearful. "Once it was out in the public, I was like, 'Well, f-- you! If you still have a problem with gay people, you directly have a problem with me. Being a full-fledged member of it and claiming it, there was just an elation there, and there still is! I still feel it. It's a huge relief, and it's also really nice to sometimes be able to feel righteous anger."
To Parsons, Pride is "a discovery of a strength and a power that perhaps you didn't realize you needed."