Jonathan Bailey speaks up for trans youth who are ‘just trying to live their life’

Jonathan Bailey in a black blazer and roll neck.

Wicked star Jonathan Bailey has spoken out in support of trans youth, describing the “torment” they endure as their lives are put up for debate.

In a speech at a Trans Day of Remembrance event hosted by LGBTQ+ young people’s charity Just Like Us, which Bailey recently joined as a patron, the 35-year-old actor shut down the debate on “whether trans lives should be acknowledged”.

“I can only imagine what it’s like for a young trans kid in 2023, just trying to live their life and get an education. Angry parents are debating whether trans lives should be acknowledged, and political leaders are goading them,” the out gay actor reflected.

“Now more than ever, a young Just Like Us ambassador might be one of the few people a young queer person could confide in or draw support from.”

Just Like Us provides an ambassador programme for queer youth, training them on how to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues in schools, and helping to prevent anti-LGBTQ+ bullying.

Just Like Us ambassador and actor Jonathan Bailey.
Just Like Us ambassador and actor Jonathan Bailey. (Just Like Us)

Jonathan Bailey, who is currently starring in queer historical drama Fellow Travelers alongside Magic Mike actor Matt Bomer, also reflected on his own experiences of growing up as a young gay child.

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The actor has previously said that he knew he was gay at the young age of 11.

He described one incident at school whereby his maths teacher scolded him for not knowing what was going on in lessons, as he had been skipping them in order to practice ballet.

“I’ll never forget the maths lesson where, in response to a question I asked, the teacher retorted with: ‘You’d know what was going on if you weren’t busy being a fairy,’” Bailey revealed.

The British actor, who will be appearing in the Wicked film adaptation alongside Ariana Grande in late 2024 and in Bridgerton season three in May, described the horrid remark as “one drip in a constant stream of homophobia, running from abuse to ambivalence”.

“I wonder how I would have felt if someone had let me open up. I can’t imagine what it would have meant if there had been some Just Like Us ambassadors around me,” he added.

“It’s not just about supporting queer kids, it’s about educating the world around them. The homophobic maths teacher needed his eyes opening as much as ballet-dancing me.”

Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey has confirmed he has a "lovely" partner
Wicked star Jonathan Bailey has revealed that he has a “lovely” partner. (Getty/Pascal Le Segretain)

In a recent interview with the Evening Standard, the actor revealed that homophobia has followed him into adulthood, as he was attacked in the US just one day after meeting president Joe Biden in October to discuss LGBTQ+ rights.

He explained that he was approached by a man in a coffee shop who demanded to know whether Bailey was famous.

“I said something like, ‘I’m really famous for ordering coffee,’ which is actually quite an annoying thing to say,” he said.

“And then he got my cap, and he pulled it off my head and he threw it across the room and he said, ‘get out of this f***ing coffee shop, you queer.”

When Bailey calmly responded by picking up his cap and putting it back on his head, the attacker threatened to shoot him, ranting: “Where I’m from, people like me kill people like you.”

Though Bailey admitted he was terrified that his “life was threatened”, he said that he was more worried about the queer youth who are “surrounded by that every day”.

“If that’s what children are surrounded by, they’re not going to be able to grow in any way,” he said.