Russell Tovey Says He’s Glad He’s Not “Really Effeminate,” Breaks Our Heart

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We’ve had a crush on Russell Tovey even before he was cast in HBO’s Looking. But the out actor has really disappointed us with a comment insulting less-than-butch gay men.

In an interview with the Guardian, Tovey admits he was bullied as a kid, and was even knifed once. But he says he’s thankful he didn’t turn out too swishy.

russell tovey“I feel like I could have been really effeminate, if I hadn’t gone to the school I went to. Where I felt like I had to toughen up,” Tovey said. “If I’d have been able to relax, prance around, sing in the street, I might be a different person now. I thank my dad for that, for not allowing me to go down that path. Because it’s probably given me the unique quality that people think I have.”

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Tovey’s pop, apparently, forbade him attending theater school, where he might have—gasp—been able to be himself.

Yes, Russell Tovey is an actor, not a role model—and he might have just been giving his opinion about the kind of abuse he would have suffered as a lad.

“If they’d asked for my wallet or phone I would have understood it,” he says of his attackers. “But it wasn’t anything to do with that. They just wanted to fucking hurt me. For years afterwards I was left with an insecurity.”

But considering he’s a star in the only gay-centric TV show not on Logo, he should have been smarter with his words.

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Tovey also praised the gym as the solution to feeling preyed upon. “The pack can sense you’re weak. It made me so frustrated. And going down the gym, discovering the gym three years ago, and really going for it – I feel a lot more in charge. I needed to exorcise that feeling of being a little scared, skinny rat.”

We’re glad you’ve exorcised those demons, Russell, but other gay men have done the same without lifting weights or stiffening their wrists.

Or, as one brilliant Twitter user put it:

h/t: Fusion

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.