Tattoo done by Chad Lenjer.
this is how to do a good silhouette tattoo
It’s been a long time since our last encounter. Ten years to be exact.
I was 26; you were 16. 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.
You WERE beautiful in every single way and words couldn’t bring you down.
What you may not know …
When I was cast in the role of “Damian” in Mean Girls, I was TERRIFIED to play this part. But this was a natural and true representation of a gay teenager — a character we laughed with instead of at. (You can thank Tina Fey and Mark Waters for that. I can only take partial credit.)
When we first made this movie, I’m not sure any of us knew how loved and quoted this movie would become. You certainly hope when you pour your heart into something, that people will respond — but to paraphrase Gretchen Wieners, “we can’t help it that we’re so popular.”
So, why the hell did it take me so long to come out of the closet?
When I first became an actor, I wanted to play lots of roles — Guidos, gangsters, and goombahs were my specialty. So, would I be able to play all of those parts after portraying a sensitive, moisturizing, Ashton Kutcher-loving, pink-shirt-wearing kid? I was optimistic. Hollywood? Not so much. I was meeting a “gay glass ceiling” in casting.
One time I wanted to audition for a supporting character in a low-budget indie movie described as a “doughy, blue-collar lug of a guy.” The role was to play the husband of an actress friend of mine who I had been in two movies and an Off-Broadway play with. She and I had even moved to LA together.
I figured I was perfect for it.
They said they were looking for a real “man’s man.” The casting director wouldn’t even let me audition. This wasn’t the last time this happened. 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.
However, I did turn down many offers to play flamboyant, feather-boa-slinging stereotypes that always seemed to be laughed at BECAUSE they were gay. How could I go from playing an inspirational, progressive gay youth to the embarrassing, cliched butt-of-a-joke?
So, there it was. 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 Girlspremiere and kissed her on the red carpet, making her my unwitting beard.
It wasn’t until years later that grown men started to coming up to me on the street — some of them in tears — and thanking me for being a role model to them. Telling me I gave them comfort not only being young and gay but also being a big dude. It was then that I realized how much of an impact YOU had made on them.
Meanwhile, I was still in the closet. Deleting tweets that asked if I was gay, scrubbing IMDB Message Boards for any indication, etc. (It’s important to note that I was actually DISCOVERED singing in a Florida gay bar by casting director, Carmen Cuba, for my first role in Larry Clark’s Bully.)
I had the perfect opportunity in 2004 to let people know the REAL Daniel Franzese. Now in 2014 — 10 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. People have always asked if I was really gay? While my reps usually lied to protect me. My friends and family all knew the truth but now it’s time everyone does. Perhaps this will help someone else. I had to remind myself that my parents named me Daniel because it means “God is my judge.” So, I’m not afraid anymore. Of Hollywood, the closet, or mean girls. Thank you for that, Damian. (And Tina.)
By the way … in June I am the Celebrity Grand Marshall of the Portland Gay Pride Parade.
We go Glen Coco.
With love and respect,
P.S. I hate it when people say I’m “too gay to function.” I know you do, too. Those people are part of the problem. They should refrain from using that phrase. It really is ONLY okay when Janis says it.
I love and respect him so much for this. He spent a majority of his acting career attempting to avoid being type casted, only to be type casted anyway because of one stereotypical role. A lot of people may say certain people are obvious about their sexuality, especially certain celebrities, and should just admit it already, but before you can be honest with the world and expect them to love you, you have to love yourself.
Animated art gif
squint at it when you look at it
this is incredible
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s the sound I heard when I was 9 and my father slammed the front door so hard behind him I swear to god it shook the whole house. For the next 3 years I watched my mother break her teeth on vodka bottles. I think she stopped breathing when he left. I think part of her died. I think he took her heart with him when he walked out. Her chest is empty, just a shattered mess or cracked ribs and depression pills.
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s all the blood in the sink. It’s the night that I spent 12 hours in the emergency room waiting to see if my sister was going to be okay, after the boy she loved, told her he didn’t love her anymore. It’s the crying, and the fluorescent lights, and white sneakers and pale faces and shaky breaths and blood. So much blood.
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s the time that I had to stay up for two days straight with my best friend while she cried and shrieked and threw up on my bedroom floor because her boyfriend fucked his ex. I swear to god she still has tear streaks stained onto her cheeks. I think when you love someone, it never really goes away.
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s the six weeks we had a substitute in English because our teacher was getting divorced and couldn’t handle getting out of bed. When she came back was smiling. But her hands shook so hard when she held her coffee, you could see that something was broken inside. And sometimes when things break, you can’t fix them. Nothing ever goes back to how it was. I got an A in English that year. I think her head was always spinning too hard to read any essays.
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s that I do.
the worst thing you can say to someone is ‘you’re too sensitive’ because that’s basically saying ‘you feel things more deeply and fully than i do and this inconveniences me because now i have to be more mindful of my own actions’
you’re not too sensitive, the world is just callous and stubborn. sensitivity doesn’t make you weak and callousness doesn’t make you strong.