Sean Hayes revealed to Playbill that he has regrets about the way he came out.
Although Hayes played the unapologetic, flamboyant, openly gay Jack McFarland on Will & Grace, he did not come out publicly to the press until 2010, four years after the end of Will & Grace.
“I had personal issues inside of myself that I regret,” Hayes said, regarding his choice of when to come out. He continued: “I regret not coming out sooner and helping more people, and I regret not coming out during the show. Everybody in the gay community knew I was gay, but it was this fight I had with the press because they want you to come out on their terms, and other gay people want you to come out on their terms, and if you don’t come out on their terms you’re just an asshole, and you’re wrong. Well, each individual human being has a lot of stuff that nobody knows about. Nobody knows what anybody else is going through at any point in their lives.”
Hayes went on to explain the difficulty of being a gay actor in Hollywood and discussed the double standard that still takes place. Straight actors can easily play gay characters, but gay actors often receive backlash for playing straight characters.
“[They] could play gay and be adored and worshipped for it, and I thought, ‘Oh. I’ll just do that. If I just do a good job, I’ll be accepted as an actor, and then I’ll just keep playing any role.' But Hollywood doesn’t work that way, and audiences don’t work that way because there’s a stipulation that goes with audiences where if they see a gay person playing straight, they go ‘Yeah right.’”
Hayes now plays the part of God in the Broadway play, An Act of God, and hopes that that double standard is diminishing.
“We shouldn’t be fascinated that a straight man can play gay anymore. There’s nothing mind blowing about that anymore. It’s been done, I’d like everyone to just be treated equally, to see people look at you and accept you for who you are as a human being."