Today we honor and celebrate an actor who uses his fame to support the diverse communities of his heritage, Wilson Cruz. Born in Brooklyn in 1973, his parents are of mixed African and Puerto Rican descent. Cruz knew he was gay at a young age and came out to his parents at 19. His father was not accepting, so he spent several months living in his car and with friends. He decided to move to Hollywood to pursue his dream of acting.
Cruz has been out as an actor from the beginning. His first big break was playing the gay teen Rickie on the cult classic TV show My So-Called Life. He has had numerous television and movie roles since the show’s cancellation. Most recently he was a regular character on the gay African-American cable drama Noah’s Arc.
As a gay man coming from African-American and Latino background, Cruz has a deep appreciation for the challenges faced by LGBT people of color. He also understands the added challenges of being a gay youth in the religious and machismo cultures that can dominate his heritage. Since the beginning of his career, he has worked closely with organizations that support gay youth including hosting YouthZone on Gay.com. Living his life out and proud, he is a beacon of hope for LGBT youth of color.