Matt Sayles/AP Photo
Matt Sayles/AP Photo
Wentworth Miller has come out as gay.
The Prison Break star decided it was time to publicly reveal his sexuality after being invited to attend a film festival in Russia.
"Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes," Wentworth, 41, says in a letter to Maria Averbakh, director of the St. Petersburg International Film Festival. "However, as a gay man, I must decline.
"I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government," he continued in the letter, posted on GLAAD's website. "The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly."
He also said "if circumstances improve, I'll be free to make a different choice."
GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz praised Miller's actions.
"Wentworth's bold show of support sends a powerful message to LGBT Russians: you are not alone," Cruz said. "As people from across the globe continue to speak out against this horrific law, more celebrities and corporations should follow his courageous lead in openly condemning Russia's anti-LGBT law."
Implemented last month, a controversial new law has banned "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors," including the public discussion of gay rights and relationships anywhere children might hear it. The law has been condemned by Russian and international human rights groups as highly discriminatory.
The anti-gay propaganda law quickly stirred up controversy, with people calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia to gay bars in Los Angeles and New York holding "vodka-dumping" protests.
Madonna was unsuccessfully sued by conservative groups in Russia for violating the propoganda law in St Petersburg after she said during a concert there last summer that gay people should be "treated with dignity."
Earlier this month, Lady Gaga tweeted her outrage over Russia's treatment of LGBT people.
"Sending bravery to LGBTs in Russia. The rise in government abuse is archaic. Hosing teenagers with pepper spray? Beatings? Mother Russia?" she first tweeted, followed by "The Russian government is criminal. Oppression will be met with revolution. Russian LGBTs you are not alone. We will fight for your freedom...Why didn't you arrest me when you had the chance, Russia? Because you didn't want answer to the world?"