Name: Wilson Cruz
Distinction: The first openly gay actor to play in a leading role in a television series.
Brief History: From the time he decided to start acting, Cruz knew that he wasn’t going to divorce his sexuality from his career. Being open caused him to be thrown out the house by his Father, but despite those struggles he found his way to a leading role on the show My So-Called Life. Since that historic role, he has dedicated a lot of time advocating for LGBT youth, one of the most at risk sectors of youth in the country.
Importance: It wasn’t too long ago that Matt Damon suggested that gay actors shouldn’t reveal their sexuality. Problematic and hypocritical barely covers the sentiment, but actors like Wilson Cruz show that you can embrace your sexuality publically and still have a career. The road may indeed be harder, but people like Cruz only make it easier for those who come after him.