Ian McKellen, the openly gay actor sat down with Anderson Cooper, to discuss his role in the upcoming film, The Hobbit, but the two spent a good chunk of that time talking about gay rights and being out and proud.
The two men, who are both open out, spoke about the progress that has been made in the last 20 years with gay rights. McKellen went back to a time where homosexuality was illegal, telling Cooper:
“I was making love until I was about 30 with my live-in boyfriend and we were breaking the law every time we had sex. Breaking the law. We could have been arrested. All the bad laws have gone. But there’s a long way to go.”
McKellen then went into support for president Obama, praising him for coming out for marriage equality, which garnered a rather large reaction of applause from the audience.
When Cooper asked if McKellen had a negative backlash to his career when he came out, Ian elaborated, “None. My film career took off. I never met a gay person who regrets coming out. I’m sure you found the same, you’re more at ease with your loved ones, and your family, and your extended family. It’s out in the open and honesty is the best policy.”
Cooper, who came out publicly earlier in the year, defended himself, saying that he had been out for his entire life amongst his inner circle of friends. However he said his decision to come out publicly, “Put everyone else at ease.”
Watch the video of the exchange below: