Sunday , 26 January 2020

Alan Cumming: “no shame” in being bisexual

Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming

Scottish actor Alan Cumming has spoken openly about coming to terms with his bisexuality, admitting that he “never had any shame” about his sexual identity.

The Aberfeldy-born star of X-Men 2 was speaking to American TV host Larry King when he said he had never felt there was “something wrong” with him, and added that he has always been comfortable with who he is. “I’ve always been bisexual. I had a boyfriend before I was married [to Hilary Lyon, in 1985] and I’ve always sort of felt I was bisexual.”

Cumming was a member of the Church of Scotland until 1998, when his mother received a letter from the church suggesting he should leave on the basis of reports in the media about his sexuality and alleged atheism. He later condemned the “oppression, guilt and shame” that he saw the church as validating. He was also the victim of several years of violence and humiliating psychological abuse from his father.

Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming

In spite of these experiences, Cumming insists he was always both aware and proud of who he was. “I felt at certain times it was going to be difficult because people weren’t very receptive to it but I never felt it was something wrong with me.”

In his interview on Larry King Now, Cumming expressed concern that – although progress has been made in society more fully appreciating and accepting homosexuality – there remain challenges in respect to bisexuality becoming equally understood. Many misconceptions remain, he observed, with many of them based on prejudice rather than fact. “There’s been kind of a fad where people think bisexual means he’s gay but just not comfortable with it yet. Or you’re just, you know, a whore,” he explained.

Cumming has recently launched a new autobiography, Not My Father’s Son, in which he discusses his upbringing and in particular the turbulent relationship with his father, who was often abusive. In conversation with the Daily Mail, he indicated that “I really wanted to show that it wasn’t all bad in my family. But I just couldn’t. There’s not one memory from our childhoods that is not clouded by fear or humiliation or pain”.

Cumming’s story is that of the triumph of hope and self-belief over adversity and shame. In recent years he has turned his attention to championing various LGBTI charities, challenging prejudice and promoting equality.

Interestingly, Cumming announced on twitter yesterday he will be visiting Glasgow’s Yes bar next time he visits Scotland – something that shouldn’t be surprising as he continues to have on ongoing interest in Scottish politics and  culture and, in addition to having worked closely with Scottish groups to campaign for marriage equality, was arguably the most famous actor to be “out for Indy”, supporting Scottish Independence.

About Andrew Page

Andrew Page
Andrew is KaleidoScot's sports editor and photographer. An experienced blogger, Andrew was raised in the Hebrides and currently lives in Renfrewshire. Andrew became an active equality campaigner at the time of the Section 28 debate, and has particular interests in faith issues and promoting LGBTI equality in sport. Andrew was shortlisted for the Icon Award's 2015 Journalist of the Year.

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One comment

  1. What a great article Andrew. I really enjoyed reading it.

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