Wilson Cruz
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Where Are They Now: Wilson Cruz

Where Are They Now: Wilson Cruz

GLAAD recently released a study that said there are record amounts of LGBT characters on television. Are you happy with the portrayals you've seen?

No. No. Yes, we have more GLBT characters. My issues are: What are those characters doing on those shows? Are they just saying so-and-so is gay, and then we don't actually deal with the fact that they're gay? We don't actually see them have a partner or even see their lives. It's just easy to say some person is gay. Then there's the issue of are they always white, funny men? If that's all we get defined as on television, then that's not really showing the diversity within our community, which is vast.

In May, Outfest honored you for your 'groundbreaking' career. Would you agree that it's been groundbreaking?

I wouldn't say I was groundbreaking -- I leave that to other people to say. I feel like I have been doing what I always said I would do. My goal was to be a working actor. I've been able to do that, and I'm very proud of that. To start my career as an openly gay man of color and to still be here after all these years, working and doing it on my own terms, is all I ever wanted. The fact that I'm still doing it is something I'm grateful and proud of. I do hope that it's made it easier for other people to do it.

You recently did an ad for the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. Do you feel that should be behind us by now?

Ah, Lord. Yeah. Look, I come down on two sides of this. We're all very aware that the President, who I supporter, could very easily sign a piece of paper -- an executive order -- and do away with a very ugly part of our history. I also know that he is trying to go through a process in which once we get rid of don't ask, don't tell, it will be gone forever. I also know that the only way we're ever going to progress as a movement is if we continue to put pressure on our leaders to fulfill their promises.

If you thought that was a tough question, how about this one: Who was your first celebrity crush?

[Laughing] Really?

Yes!

Scott Baio.

Because of Charles in Charge?

Both Charles in Charge and Joanie Loves Chachi. So much so that my younger brother, Josh -- he's eight years younger than I am -- my grandmother had a very thick accent. She would say Joshie, but it kind of sounded like Joj-jie. So I started calling him Chachi because of the way she would say it. To this day, we still call my little brother Chachi. He's going to love this!

You once said about My So-Called Life: 'I don't know that I'll ever be more proud of anything in my life or career. I hope to be as satisfied in my work someday as I was when I was doing that.' Why is that?

I think because it was my first big foray into entertainment. It was so personal on so many levels. Ricky Vasquez was kind of like my alter ego in so many ways. Playing him was so cathartic. I was able to walk in his shoes and walk through so many painful experiences and then walk away from them and leave them there on that set. The fact that I was able to do that and entertain and inform other people is probably a once in a lifetime experience. I don't know if any actor gets that opportunity, and the fact that I got to do it so early on is something that even while it was happening, I was aware of how rare it is.

 

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