Wilson Cruz Brings the Future to the OUT100

OUT magazine just released their 2020 Annual Out100  presented by Lexus. The list remains the largest annual portfolio recognizing members of the LGBTQ+ for their ground-breaking, ripple-inducing, and culture-shifting impact nationwide. The 2020 Out100 issue features four covers including activist and BLM organizer Janaya Khan, actor and director Joe Mantello, artist and icon Janelle Monáe, and finally trailblazing actor Wilson Cruz.

 

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Cruz, whose acting career took off playing Claire Danes’ gay best friend Rickie, along with Jared Leto in the 1990s teen soap opera My So Called Life, is now a cast member of the CBS All Access hit show Star Trek: Discovery, where he plays the ship’s doctor, Hugh Culber, who is married to another man, his husband, chief engineer Paul Stamets (played by out after Anthony Rapp).

 

OUT says 2020 has been an education for Cruz. He was involved in the social justice protests around Black Lives Matter and also took it upon himself to be better able to speak to the issues by reading and listening. “Reading Caste literally changed my perspective in terms of how I look at how we’re governing and living our lives right now,” he insists of the Isabel Wilkerson tome. “And so I read something like Caste and it breaks my heart to know that we’ve built an entire society out of the fallacy that some people are worth less than others. The most powerful part of that book for me was, I mean, all of it was powerful, but the weird thing that stuck with me the most was when she speaks about how caste forces us to miscast everyone…so people who feel like they should be the president of the United States because of their racial makeup and their family lineage and class when really they shouldn’t be right. That’s not what their personality is suited strongly for. Whereas someone who should be is a person of color and doesn’t have the same opportunities and is relegated to menial work because that’s what they have been assigned to because of their caste. When in reality that person could be the person who invents or discovers the cure for cancer. But we never gave them the ability to do that.”

 

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OUT also says that Cruz, “the Black, gay, Latinx activist can’t help but compare the Star Trek: Discovery universe, 1,000 years in the future, with America today. “I have to tell you — and it’s going to sound corny — it’s about how Star Trek makes me look at the world. Because in order for any of us to play these roles as people of color on this show, we have to imagine who we would be and what our lives would be if we were allowed to live up to our potential because we aren’t dealing with all of the ‘isms’ that are obstacles in our lives. So Dr. Culber didn’t deal with racism. He didn’t deal with homophobia. He got to be everything he could possibly be. And he was allowed to do that with no blockages in education or opportunities. And when you spend nine months out of the year trying to imagine that world.”

 

Indeed.

Cruz posted the cover image on Instagram and wrote, “As I said to @goodmorningamerica, today, “Listen, all I can think about is the kid who still lives inside of me who once stalked a newsstand for a week in order to work up the nerve to purchase an OUT Magazine!”

I’m so grateful to @outmagazine for including me in this years #OUT100 list and for the honor of gracing the cover.

When asked about a legacy… “{I hope} I used whatever talent and ability I had to tell the story of my community so that people would see us for the life-affirming, love-expanding community that we are, as opposed to the decades of misinformation and lies that were told about us. And that I use [television] to invite people in so they would actually know us. And if they know us, they’ll understand us. And if they can understand, they’ll accept us and celebrate us. And that’s all any of us want.”

Thank you to the @rikerbrothers for these images and for the fun in making them. Grooming by the sweetest @kimbermakeup.

 

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