The ever-talented and hot Mark Ruffalo talks about his support for gay rights and his directorial debut with ‘Sympathy for Delicious’, a Sundance Special Jury Prize-winning drama about a paraplegic faith healer in theaters April 29, in with The Advocate:
Why have you taken such a personal interest in gay rights?
We have a lot of friends who are gay couples with kids. When my son would go to his friend’s house down the street, where his friend’s parents are a married gay couple, not once did he come home and say, “Why does he have two papas?” That didn’t occur to him, because their house is no different from ours. I’ve seen the human face of the issue, I’ve seen the pain gay couples are going through, so it was important for me to add my voice to the fight. Fortunately, my voice reaches much further than a lot of people’s. I was trained as an actor that we have a responsibility in our community to stand up for what we believe in and to use our voice and our art to teach people and push those beliefs.
What was your earliest exposure to gay people?
During my senior year of high school, a really close friend of mine came out to me. He was so depressed, he was suicidal for weeks. I kept asking, “What’s wrong with you?” He’d cry, but he wouldn’t tell me. I didn’t know what a problem so big could be, so I thought he killed somebody. Finally, I got him to tell me, and that was the first time I knew a gay person. I’d heard about gay people, but I had no idea what that was. At the time I was in Virginia Beach, where homosexuals were like an urban myth. All of a sudden, there it was in front of me, and it was a person that I really admired. He asked, “Are you not going to be my friend anymore?” I said, “Of course not.”
You come to a moral question at that moment: Is this person I’ve known all this time now a dreaded, horrible human being that’s to be shunned, or is this person just like everybody else, except for a different sexual orientation? Luckily, I’d had whatever it takes to make someone see a person for who they really are — and to stand up and accept that even when other people around you don’t.
I’ve been a fan of Ruffalo for years. And knowing that he supports equal rights for all makes him that more beautiful.