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Gus Kenworthy and Laith Ashley on why the LGBTQ community struggles with intimacy in a cis-straight world

The 'American Horror Story' star and transgender activist and model cover Attitude's October issue

2019-09-24

Words: Steve Brown

Gus Kenworthy and Laith Ashley open up about why they believe the LGBTQ community struggle with intimacy in a cis-straight world.

The American Horror Story star and transgender activist and model cover Attitude's October issue - out now to order globally and download to any device - where they discuss their difficulties opening up emotionally and why, in particular the LGBTQ community, struggle the most.

Laith says: "My ideas and insecurities about my physical body keep me from getting too close to other people because I’m not comfortable, so there’s still a lot of selfwork that needs to be done. I can easily open up emotionally though."

Gus, 25, adds: "It’s the Velvet Rage. We have this shame inside, whether you’ve accepted the fact that you are gay.

"For the most part, lots of us haven’t completely resolved that shame and it manifests itself in insecurities and can make it difficult to date.

"So you could be seemingly on top of the world, on top of your shit, got everything together, out, proud, but there’s still residual shame.

"There are cobwebs from all those years that you endured basically hating yourself. That makes it difficult."

Photography: Santiago Bisso

The American Horror Story: 1984 star recently came out of a long-term relationship with actor Matt Wilkas and touched on why the relationship ended due to him not truly loving himself.

He continues: "After a bunch of years together, realising that I’m not necessarily ready to truly love and value and appreciate someone else because I don’t know if I truly love, value and appreciate myself. I’m getting there, but it’s a work in progress."

Laith says one of the main issues why he believes the LGBTQ communtiy struggles to love and value itself is because of the 'trauma' experienced by those ostracised from their families because of their sexuality and gender identity.

He says: "It’s always going to be [that way]. I think we all have trauma, especially folks in the LGBT community.

"We all want love, we all want happiness, we all want to be successful.

"But a lot of times we are ostracised from our own families and that’s the first place that we experience trauma or rejection — from the people we love the most and who are supposed to love us unconditionally: our parents, siblings and relatives.

"So we look outside of our immediate family for that love and validation and sometimes we don’t find it and it ends up being problematic." 

Read the full interview with Gus and Laith in Attitude's October issue, available to download and to order globally now.

Buy now and take advantage of our best-ever subscription offers: three issues for £3 in print, 13 issues for £19.99 to download to any device.