Words: Will Stroude
Candid reflections from Matt McGorry about how he grappled with shame "for years" after experimenting sexually with guys have recently resurfaced online - and offer insight into the damage homophobia can wreak on anyone exploring their sexuality.
First reported by Cocktails and C*cktalk, the 2018 clip of the Orange Is the New Black and How to Get Away with Murder star revealing how he overcame the "shame" he felt about the encounters has recently begun doing the rounds on TikTok.
McGorry's frank dicusssion came during an episode of rountable talk series Man Enough, which saw figures including Derek Hough and Javier Muñoz reflect on modern masculinity.
"When I was young, like a lot of straight boys I experimented with other boys. But that is so common and no one talks about it," said McGorry, best known best known for playing prison guard John Bennett on Orange Is the New Black and law student Asher Millstone on How to Get Away with Murder.
Asked by host Justin Baldoni what he meant, McGorry continued: "Like, physically experimenting. I don't think it was sexual, and I am straight never found myself attracted to boys, but it's just this thing where I - and I don't need to go into the full details - but, you know, where you just try things."
McGorry explained he was left feeling shame "for years" before he finally decided to be open about his experiences and spark more honest conversations about sexual expression among men.
"I had so much shame about that, for years after, thinking 'I'm going to be famous one day, maybe, and someone's going to find and it's going to become this thing and it's going to destroy me'," he mused.
"And maybe even at that point in time it was a little less acceptable. But I spoke on a panel a little while ago and I was like 'I'm going to say it here'.
The star, now 35, went on: "That's the way shame works. If you keep it in the dark, wet and mouldy, it festers.
"And when you let it out there, not only are you giving other people the strength to live their truest lives, but you actually get people to see you authentically."
Watch Man Enough episode two below. McGorry's comments come just after the 14.15 mark: