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The actor, who played Zach on the NBC show that ended in February 2010, came out on Instagram with a statement after his “sexual orientation once again came into question this week when a prominent gay man used an awards acceptance speech to ‘out’ me.”
Dekker wrote that “[while] it is an odd situation, I thank him because it presents a prime opportunity for me to publicly say that I am indeed a man who proudly loves other men.” He also revealed that he had married his husband in April.
At the LGBT festival Outfest on July 6, Fuller received the Achievement Award and in his acceptance speech spoke about the times in his career characters were “hetwashed” — that is, changed from homo- to heterosexual.
“I had a brief stint on Heroes where the gay character was ‘hetwashed‘ after the actor’s management threatened to pull him from the show if he — the character, not the actor — were gay. The character became straight and the actor came out as gay,” Fuller said in an oblique reference to Dekker.
At the time, Dekker hadn’t publicly said he was gay, but had confirmed the questions surrounding Heroes‘ Zach sexuality in a blog post and had told Out magazine that he was open to relationships with men and women.
Dekker’s full statement on Instagram:
My sexual orientation once again came into question this week when a prominent gay man used an awards acceptance speech to “out” me. While he did not mention me by name, the explicit details of his reference made it easy for the public and media to connect the dots. While it is an odd situation, I thank him because it presents a prime opportunity for me to publicly say that I am indeed a man who proudly loves other men. In fact, this April, I married my husband and I could not be happier. I have never lied to the press about the fluidity of my sexuality but this man claiming that I came out is not true. Because I have not “officially” until this moment. I simply refuse to be robbed of the glorious joy that belongs to me. To say the words myself. “I’m gay”. Those words are a badge of honor that no one can steal. Sexuality and who you love is a deeply personal and complicated thing. For some of us, it takes time to cultivate, discover and conclude. It is not something anyone should ever be ashamed of and certainly not something anyone should be rushed into. I agree with many who believe it is an important responsibility for LGBTQ persons with a platform to come out. It has the power to change minds, challenge beliefs and make others feel understood and supported. It can strengthen the progression of our community and help disarm those who discriminate against us. It is a brave, powerful and important thing to do but it is also a deeply personal decision. One that should only be made when you are ready. If we are to stand strong in the gay community, our mission should be support, not exclusion; love, not shame. I choose not to look back on the past with a regretful heart but rather focus on the future with a hopeful one. A future where myself and all others can feel free to express their true selves with honor and dignity. I embrace you, any of you, with open arms, kindness, faith and patience. For all of you who have supported me, before and now, I thank you from the bottom of my fledgling heart. Be proud of who you are. No matter how long it takes.
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