Back in August, Disney Channel alum Garrett Clayton publicly came out as gay with a meaningful message on Instagram. Now, the Teen Beach Movie star is opening up about his decision to come out and the homophobia he’s experienced from people close to him. Not only did Garrett feel pressures from Hollywood to suppress his true self, but even his own brother shut him out of his life when finding out he was gay.

Garrett told Gay Times“My brother reacted badly when I told him…I don’t want to put him on blast, because he’s still my family, but I do feel that honesty in this situation is important. A few years ago, when same-sex marriage was legalised, my brother was furious, and he went online posting about how the American flag was gonna be a rainbow soon, like, ‘What’s happening to America?’ And I remember seeing that and thinking, ‘You have a gay brother, you idiot!’ So I went on his Facebook like, ‘So wait a minute, you’re telling me that there can be someone you care about in your life, who wants to impede nothing on yours, and just wants the same rights as you, and you would take that away from them?’ And then he blocked me.”

Despite how hurt the actor was after his brother turned his back on him, he is one hundred percent open to forgiving him.

“If my brother wants to reconnect with me, I welcome it wholeheartedly. I’m a big believer in people learning from their mistakes. But not every story gets a happy ending.”

It wasn’t just his sibling’s reaction that Garrett struggled with though.

“One of the first things somebody who was instrumental in starting my career did, they sat me down and they said, ‘Are you gay?’ And I could feel the pressure of the question, so I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m gay, or bi, or whatever,’ because suddenly I could feel that there was something wrong with that in this person’s eyes,” he said. “It turned into this situation where I’d get calls and they’d say, ‘You still need to butch it up.’ I literally had to change everything about myself at that point, otherwise I was never gonna make it.”

The star went on to explain how the people he worked with tried pressuring him into turning into someone he’s not.

The 27-year-old actor added, “So they had me changing the way I walked, the way I spoke, the way I dressed, the way I answered questions. It got as petty as them saying, ‘People need to see that you’re into sports because they’ll think that’s more masculine, so why don’t you go buy a sports hat, take some pictures in it, and make sure people see you in it.'”

And so, Garrett found himself in a really bad place for a while.

“I convinced myself that I was the problem, and I got into a really dark place for a couple of years. Then I went to therapy for about a year and a half to really sort through all the things I went through growing up and the situations I found myself in while in Hollywood. I got to work through all those conflicting things,” he said.

We’re so glad to see the star living his truth and speaking out about overcoming his struggles in order to help those who might be dealing with a similar situation. You go, Garrett!

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