Arrowverse Star Says His Father Wanted To Cure Him Of Being Gay

Russell Tovey

The Arrowverse has always been praised for its LGBTQ+ representation, and one of its pioneering characters that’s often overlooked is The Ray. As played by Russell Tovey in 2017’s “Crisis on Earth-X” and the animated webseries Freedom Fighters: The Ray, Ray Terrill was the first gay male superhero lead on TV and as a gay man himself, Tovey has previously spoken about how honored he was to portray the character.

In a new interview, the British actor has opened up about his own difficult coming out as a teenager, specifically how his parents initially struggled to come to terms with his homosexuality. Tovey revealed that, when he came out to them at age 18, his father “thought it could be cured” and wanted his son to undergo hormone treatments. He made clear, however, that his family have become closer over time, calling his mother the most important person in his life and saying he talks openly with them about relationship issues.

“I don’t think either of my parents were homophobic, they just didn’t know any gay people or anyone with gay kids. They had nothing to cling to,” Tovey said. “My dad thought it could be cured. He was scared about what my life would be like. To him, being gay was a road of pitfalls and unhappiness; out of love he wanted to correct this weakness, to put cotton wool around me and protect me from all that. People react in different ways, there’s no rhyme or reason, but if you love someone you have to respect the process.”

Tovey’s mom Carole also took part in the interview and she shared her own thoughts on why her husband reacted the way he did at first, saying:

“George had a hard time with it. It took him about three years to come to terms with it,” she admitted. “I think it was to do with pride, his idea of what makes you a man. He thought we’d somehow made Russell gay. He said: ‘We’ll get him hormone treatment.’ He found it hard to see that Russ was happy and we had to accept it.”

Russell Tovey

Outside of the Arrowverse, Tovey is a regular face on screens both in the US and his native UK, with a few of his most notable projects including Quantico, Years and Years, The Night Manager, Sherlock, Being Human and Doctor Who. He last appeared in the Arrowverse for an uncredited cameo in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” which established that The Ray now exists on Earth-Prime, paving the way for him to return in the future.

Other Arrowverse stars who have opened up in the past about their personal experiences of coming out include Legends of Tomorrow’s Wentworth Miller (who also played The Ray’s love interest, Citizen Cold) and Supergirl‘s Chyler Leigh.