“Mean Girls” actor Jonathan Bennett expressed on social media how he was severely bullied at school just for being gay. Due to all the bullying, the theatre became such an important place to him as a queer kid.
Bennett mentioned on Instagram for World Theatre Day that high school theatre was the only place that gave him “the tiniest bit of refuge” from homophobia and bullying.
The Instagram post featured a few clips of Bennett when he was 16 years old. He wrote, “I give you a video of a 16-year-old gay boy in Ohio. He has a pitchy voice, no rhythm, and can’t dance to save his life. He’s awkward, his teeth are too big for his face, and he lives in fear every single day because he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the boys in his class.”
Bennett continued stating how he was always shoved in a locker by a bully named Justin and gets called a faggot whenever he walks down the school halls. He started to cry himself to sleep every night until he developed stomach ulcers and suffered from insomnia due to stress and homophobia in his small town. Throughout his life, he was thinking “really dark thoughts” and lived “miserably in secret” because of the struggles he faced in school.
The 39-year-old actor stated that the theatre was a place where he felt safe for the first time in his life. He also said that it was a place where he wasn’t picked on for being different and that no one called him any homophobic slurs. The high school theatre was where Bennett felt celebrated.
He also proudly mentioned that the theatre made him a “star” where it gave him leading roles and helped the actor “go on to do dozens of shows for years in the safety and comfort of those 4 walls.” When he stepped out on stage, Bennett felt alive.
The gay actor wanted to thank every single individual who is involved in theatres everywhere. “If you were an actor, a stage manager, lighting, sound, wardrobe, front of the house, back of the house, even if you just bought a ticket and supported theatre,” the actor stated.
Bennett also expressed how the theatre was a safe place for so many LGBTQ+ children out there dealing with homophobia at school.
Moreover, the actor also encouraged queer kids struggling with their sexual orientation that they’re not alone and that they’re a star who deserves to “shine bright.”
Bennett also encouraged gay kids to keep on singing and dancing, whether they’re good or not “because it’s not about being perfect, it’s about shining your light.” And the world NEEDS your light. The curtain’s up, the stage is set, all the little Jonathan’s out there… ‘You’re on!’”.
Bennett came out of the closet as a gay man in 2017 and revealed he was in a relationship with former “Amazing Race” contestant Jaymes Vaughan. Both of them became engaged on 30th November 2020, where Bennett proposed Vaughan an original song on the set of “The Christmas House”.
The gay “Mean Girls” star mentioned that what they had was special and that they’ll accomplish anything when they’re together.