Matt Bomer reveals his ultra-religious father would ‘bring the hammer down’ while he was figuring out his sexuality as a teen

Matt Bomer in American Horror Story

Matt Bomer has spoken of his struggle growing up gay in an ultra-conservative religious family, describing his upbringing as a “bifurcated” environment.

The award-winning American Horror Story actor explained in an interview with the Guardian that he had to navigate his family’s shifting religious values as child.

He realised he was gay in his early teens, he said, “but I was also part of a very religious family living in a hyper-conservative environment in the bible belt in Texas so it became a bifurcated experience for me.”

The family was so conservative that even TV and film were off-limits on occasion.

“The boundaries shifted quite a bit,” Bomer said. “Sometimes they’d be relaxed, sometimes more stringent, depending on where my family’s religious values were at any given time.

“If Dad was really on fire for the Lord all of a sudden, you knew the hammer would come down. Although my brother and I as kids always found a way to access everything we wanted to see.”

The actor, who is now father to three sons with his partner Simon Halls, first came out to his brother at the age of 24.

He broke the news to his parents in an emotional letter two years later, only to be met with six months of silence followed by a blazing row when he returned from college.

Bomer publicly came out in an awards speech in 2012 in which he thanked Halls and their children for teaching him “what unconditional love is.”

While this act of courage clearly hasn’t harmed his career, in the years that followed it did cost him some opportunities that were previously open to him.

“I’d be lying to you if I said certain things didn’t change for me,” he admitted.

“Certain rooms I used to frequent – suddenly the door was closed. But I also engaged with artists who don’t care, who just want the actor they believe is best for the role, and those are the artists I wanted to be working with anyway so I don’t count it as any kind of loss.”

Bomer is embracing his sexuality in his latest film, The Boys in the Band, which is an adaptation of the famous 1968 queer play.

Bomer starred in the play’s 50th anniversary Broadway revival in 2018, and the movie will feature the same all-gay cast including Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells and Charlie Carver.

“It all takes place a few months before Stonewall,” Bomer said. “It’s about this moment right before that explosion, that revolution, and in a way the characters feel like they’re going to be trapped in this play until something changes.

“My favourite line is when Michael asks what time it is and I reply: ‘It’s early.’ I feel that’s true for the movement and where these men were; it really was early in their development. Donald is looking to the horizon for something beyond all this and there’s nothing there – it’s uncharted territory.”