(Editor's note: October is LGBT History Month, celebrated annually to recognize the notable achievements of LGBT people throughout time. Each day this month, Equality Forum will feature one LGBT icon who has made notable contributions to society and SDGLN will publish the story here in the Causes section.)
Chris Colfer is an actor, singer, novelist, and screenwriter. He is best known for playing Kurt on “Glee.” He is one of the first openly gay teen actors to portray an out character on primetime television.
Colfer, born May 27, 1990, was raised in Clovis, California, and was home schooled during middle school because of severe bullying. He excelled in high school, was president of the Writers’ Club, and edited the school’s literary magazine. He wrote, directed, and starred in a gender-reversed spoof of “Sweeney Todd,” titled “Shirley Todd.” Despite his achievements, Colfer was harassed because he was perceived to be gay.
With only community theater experience, he auditioned for the role of Artie in “Glee.” He did not get the part, but inspired the show’s creator, Ryan Murphy, to create a character for him. “He’s never been formally trained,” said Murphy, “and I just thought he was so talented and gifted and unusual.”
Colfer plays Kurt, a stylish, outspoken member of the glee club who performs songs traditionally sung by women. Similar to Colfer’s real life experiences, Kurt overcomes struggles with his sexual identity and bullying. He falls in love with another male character. The New York Post named the pair “one of the most beloved TV couples of the millennium.”
Through his television character, Colfer hopes to give people strength and “show the little sparks of bravery that are in us all.” He is an inspiring role model both for teens discovering themselves and for adults who have been in his shoes. He recorded a video for the “It Gets Better” campaign, telling teens “there’s a world full of acceptance and love just waiting for you to find it.”
He won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and a Teen Choice Award. Colfer was nominated for two Emmys, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a People’s Choice Award. In 2011, he was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine.
Colfer starred in and wrote the screenplay for ”Struck by Lightning” (2012), a coming-of-age comedy that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. “The Land of Stories,” his first novel for children and young adults, was released in 2012.
“I’ve tried being other people and myself suits me the best.”