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The Politician star Ben Platt says ‘queerness is part of what makes you an interesting, intelligent, nuanced person’

Nick Duffy June 6, 2020
The Politician star Ben Platt was honoured by GLSEN

The Politician star Ben Platt was honoured by GLSEN

The Politician star Ben Platt has said that he wants to continue making work that is visibly queer to help young people.

The out actor and musician was virtually honoured by GLSEN, an LGBT+ organisation working for inclusion in education, for his work and activism.

Best known for his roles in Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen and Netflix’s The Politician, Ben Platt publicly opened up about his sexuality with the release of his debut solo album Sing to Me Instead in 2019, in which he sings about his relationships with men.

Accepting the award from GLSEN last week, Platt spoke about how he hopes to use his privilege and platform to help others.

Ben Platt: ‘I’ve tried to make art that speaks to queer people.’

He said: “I grew up with a lot of privilege in the sense that I went to a school where I was able to be entirely who I was.

“Being a gay man was only a piece of my puzzle and a piece of my tapestry. It didn’t need to be the headline, I got to be strange and anxious and Jewish and sing and act and be a brother and a son and a friend, and then also be gay… I didn’t have to have that be the only thing worth knowing about me.

“I know that that’s not a luxury that a lot of people have had in the past, and it’s one that people still do not have now. And I am so encouraged and impressed by young people [today]. I think there’s the level of nuance and maturity and understanding that young people have has only grown and I hope that that continues.”

He added: “I’ve tried to spend the few years so far that I’ve had in my career making art that is queer, and that speaks to queer people because that’s my experience.

“I don’t want it to be exclusive, and I don’t want to make it so that people who aren’t queer can’t find themselves in the work, but I never want to change the specificity of it to to lose any of the queerness.

“Whenever I write music, I write it about the men that I’ve been in relationships with, I use the right pronouns, I write about my specific story.”

When it comes to acting though, Platt said that he loves “to play characters whose sexuality is all over the map,” adding: “We’re we’re getting to a place where sexuality gets to be part of the interest… [but] doesn’t have to be the headline and the announcement, and certainly doesn’t need to be a source of intolerance.”

Ben Platt performs during Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 on May 16, 2020.
Ben Platt performs during Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 on May 16, 2020. (Getty Images)

‘Your queerness is part of what makes you an interesting, intelligent, nuanced person.’

Addressing teens who may be facing homophobic bullying, Ben Platt said: “For anyone that’s dealing with that…. I hope that anything I’ve made or the music that I’ve made or the characters that I played have spoken to you and that you’ve connected to them.

“Just know that I’m on your side and I’m with you. And, you know, your queerness is part of what makes you an interesting, intelligent, nuanced person.

“I think you should celebrate it and rejoice, and just know that if there are people around you that can’t embrace that right now or that don’t understand that that only makes you a better person right now, it can only get better as you get older and meet people who will appreciate every aspect of who you are, including your queerness.”

More: Ben Platt, Queer, The Politician

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