Hollywood actor, Matt Bomer, and his partner, Simon Halls, publicist, were honoured with an Inspiration award from the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network. At the ceremony, he talked about how times had changed since he was a teenager and that he had felt unable to come out because of social pressures.

Star of, White Collar, Bomer, 34, said: “When I was in high school, there was no safe haven, there was no outlet for you to speak your mind,” reported E! online.

“So I did what any self-preserving 14-year-old would do—I signed up for the school play and also the football team to cover my tracks.

“When that happens, when you aren’t allowed to speak about who you are, one of the most authentic parts of who you are, which is who you love or who you’re attracted to, feels invisible,

“GLSEN gives visibility and authenticity to kids all across the country.”

Presenting the award was Joe Manganiello, Bomer’s Magic Mike, co-star, and college classmate. He said:

“You are the example that the rest of our country needs to wake up and see in terms of equality and putting an end to the bullying epidemic and making sure that every family is respected in our schools and our society.”

Matt Bomer, who has three sons with Mr Halls, came out in February at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards ceremony, he told the audience: “I like to give a special shout out to my table… and I’d really especially like to thank my beautiful family Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry – thank you for teaching me what unconditional love is. You will always be my proudest accomplishment.”

Earlier this year he was the focus of a controversy involving, American Psycho, writer Bret Easton Ellis, who told Twitter followers he thought it would be “ludicrous” to cast an openly gay actor like Matt Bomer as the lead in the film adaptation of the erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey.