Helping fans come out to their parents is ‘a blessing,’ says How To Get Away With Murder’s Jack Falahee
Jack Falahee has become an object of attraction for millions while playing the insatiable Connor Walsh on the hit show How to Get Away with Murder.
But Falahee, who came out as straight after Trump’s election victory “to offer my support to the community as an ally,” never expected to win fans for both his acting and his abs.
“I was this chubby, awkward kid, and now I’m a sex symbol,” he told FAULT Magazine.
“Nine times out of ten, it’s all good fun and nice things are being said, but that 10 percent of the time when people disregard my space or my well-being is not okay.
“People tell me: ‘That’s what you signed up for,’ and I really don’t think it is!”
Falahee’s character is in an interracial, serodiscordant relationship with hacker Oliver on the US show, and the couple has inspired gay viewers.
The actor, who plays opposite Academy Award winner Viola Davis on the show, has received messages from fans saying “Connor & Oliver helped me come out to my parents,” which he said was “deeply rewarding” for him.
“The outpouring of love from the fans was so gratifying and humbling. To be any small part of the courage needed to come out will forever be a blessing to me,” he added.
The way he thinks about sexuality has forever changed thanks to the show, which has been renewed for a fourth season following Oliver’s proposal to Connor in the dramatic third-season finale.
Fans will be on tenterhooks to find out Connor’s answer – and will, no doubt, be writing fan fiction about the couple’s next steps – but at first, Falahee didn’t even realise his character was gay.
“Going into this, it was never written on the page that ‘Connor Walsh is a homosexual,’” he said, “so when it came to the first love scene I just thought: ‘Wow, this guy is willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead’.
“Now I know that was the heteronormativity in my mind that was rationalising this whole aspect of his character.”
And he had personal reasons for wanting to play the part with integrity and nuance.
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“I’ve grown up with friends and family who aren’t straight white males, so it was important for me to do Connor’s character justice,” he said.
As well as teaching him about internalised prejudice against gay men, his experience as a sex icon has also opened his eyes to the way society treats women.
“On one hand, it’s a great boost to my confidence, but on the other hand, it’s a very vulnerable thing to be.
“Women live their lives being objectified and reduced to just their bodies every day and it is awful, so I’ve been discussing it with the women close to me.
“I obviously can never understand how women can go through life that way but I can see a glimpse of what that experience might feel like, and it’s not a nice one.”