In Harry Cook’s mem­oir Pink Ink, the ac­tor dis­cusses over­com­ing gay shame and cam­paign­ing for cast­ing eq­uity.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT #225 - By Matt My­ers.

DNA: What was the most con­fronting thing about writ­ing a mem­oir?

Harry Cook: Re­vis­it­ing dif­fi­cult mem­o­ries. I had a re­ally painful com­ing-out ex­pe­ri­ence, bat­tles with ad­dic­tion, and spent a month in re­hab. I had ex­tremely low self­es­teem and was dan­ger­ously de­pressed for a long time. It was painful dig­ging up old mem­o­ries, but I found it ther­a­peu­tic by the end. I didn’t leave any­thing out. It’s raw and hon­est. I’m proud of it.

As an openly gay ac­tor, you’ve ex­pressed very strong opin­ions about be­ing out in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. I’ve been ex­tremely for­tu­nate to get the work I have, but I think cast­ing di­rec­tors, pro­duc­ers and ex­ec­u­tives need to start giv­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties to queer peo­ple across the board. The few queer roles that are out there de­serve to be played by queer ac­tors. Pe­riod. Stu­dio ex­ec­u­tives have this weird no­tion that openly gay ac­tors can’t play straight char­ac­ters, yet straight ac­tors can play queer char­ac­ters. In ma­jor LGBTIQ-themed films and TV shows the leads are of­ten played by straight ac­tors.

Con­stantly. Broke­back Moun­tain, Call Me By Your Name, Carol, Dal­las Buy­ers Club, Priscilla, Love Si­mon, The Kids Are Al­right, Philadel­phia, Boys Don’t Cry, Transamer­ica, A Sin­gle Man, Neigh­bours, Riot, Hold­ing The Man and Home And Away have all had straight ac­tors play­ing gay char­ac­ters. If queer ac­tors had par­ity when it came to play­ing the same amount of straight char­ac­ters it wouldn’t be an is­sue, but can you name an openly-gay ac­tor who has played a Marvel su­per­hero?

Do you think there are still many gay men, both in and out, who feel shame and suf­fer from self-ha­tred? Ab­so­lutely. I still strug­gle with shame be­cause of the so­ci­ety I grew up in. It’s in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to grow up around so much ig­no­rance and hate and not be af­fected by it. It takes a lot of work to un­bur­den one­self from the shame so­ci­ety throws on us as. I hope that with more LGBTIQ vis­i­bil­ity ig­no­rance will evap­o­rate over time.

Your book also cov­ers mar­riage equal­ity in Aus­tralia. How do you feel now that it’s won?

Peo­ple thought mar­riage equal­ity was the top of the moun­tain, but it’s only the tip of the ice­berg. The other day I no­ticed a “gay friendly” doc­tors page on the

New South Wales govern­ment web­site. That is in­sane! Shouldn’t all doc­tors be friendly to all their pa­tients?

Will you and part­ner Liam have an­other wed­ding now that it’s le­gal in Aus­tralia?

Our wed­ding in Cal­i­for­nia was per­fect. We didn’t wait for Aus­tralia to catch up be­fore we had our spe­cial day, so we don’t par­tic­u­larly feel the need to re-do it here.

Do you share any show­biz ex­pe­ri­ences in the book? Liam and I went to a Walk Of Style party in Bev­erly Hills. It was weird be­ing at the same party as Lorde and Toby Maguire.

What do you hope peo­ple will gain from read­ing your mem­oir?

So much of the ig­no­rance and hate we see in the world comes from peo­ple un­will­ing to learn about any­body dif­fer­ent to them­selves. I hope we see that change over time.

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