Douglas Spain Becomes the Change He Wants To See
BY Winston Gieseke
January 27 2012 5:00 AM ET
My mother had a difficult time when I came out to her a long time ago. She blamed me for all her bad luck. [Laughs]
You’re laughing when you say that.
Yeah, because that same day she bought a lottery ticket and went to the horse races. And I believe she won about $800. Either that’s a coincidence or it was the universe saying this is the right thing.
What kind of response did you get from the Facebook announcement?
Lots of love. “I love you” was the first comment, and it just went on from there.
You also appeared on Brothers & Sisters, playing the homophobic brother of the girl adopted by the gay couple. Was that difficult for you?
I loved that role because it gave me a chance to step into another person’s shoes and understand their perspective. I’ve known some people who felt this way. I think there is a sort of religious system behind a lot of these beliefs, and most individuals don’t have their own perception. It becomes a group collective. I had a roommate who was very religious and there were many nights we debated God’s word. When you grow up believing this for a long time, you tend to just follow a certain path. My mother’s on that path, and I think there’s a struggle between what you’re being shown and what’s in your heart. It’s a huge struggle for a lot of people. The character from Brothers & Sisters came from that situation. He loved his sister and wanted her to be happy, but what he was raised to believe conflicted with that [situation]. In the end you just have to be truthful and respectful. That’s what the character ended up saying: “I don’t have to agree with you, but I do have to respect you because this is our world, not mine.”
If only more people were able to come to that realization.
I believe that you have to love and respect yourself and the rest will follow. If we are seeking other people to approve of who we are and what we want to do in life, it can be a very challenging road. Gandhi’s “be the change you want to see in the world” has been an inspiration for me because the only way I can inspire change is through example. So it was important to me to put myself forward and make changes and show others that you need to love yourself and respect yourself. I’ve never been the kind of person who stands in line waiting to get into someone else’s party. I’ve been the individual who throws his own party and invites those that belong there.