Go, Gay Power Ranger!
BY Jase Peeples
November 05 2013 7:00 AM ET
David Yost says he knew he was gay by the time he was in the second grade.
“There was this kid named Alan in my class who used to pretend he was Wonder Woman at recess,” he says. “He would spin around in three circles and then run up and kiss boys on their cheeks. Everyone would make fun of him, but secretly I knew I was just like him — that I liked other boys.”
The 44-year-old actor, who speaks in a warm and gentle tone as he recalls the memory of his earliest acknowledgment of his sexual orientation, says he is a far different man than the one who once played Billy Cranston, the original Blue Ranger on the hit TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. For Yost, the journey to accept himself as a gay man has been filled with fear, danger, and self-loathing. But Yost hopes to help LGBT youth avoid the negative coming out he experienced by sharing his story.
Born in the small town of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Yost had gift for “jumping and tumbling around” at an early age, and his parents quickly enrolled him in gymnastic classes to help him cultivate his talent. He excelled in the sport, winning several competitions in the years that followed, including the Iowa and Montana gymnastics state championships. But while his athletic ability made him a capable gymnast, Yost says his true passion became clear when he discovered acting. “I got the acting bug after I played Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in grade school,” he says. “From that moment on, I always knew I wanted to be an actor.”
Unbeknownst to his parents, acting soon began to eclipse Yost’s love of gymnastics, and he would often skip lessons to sneak off and audition for local plays. But all the while, he was hiding a much bigger part of himself from everyone around him — and hating it.
“I developed a hatred for myself at a very young age,” Yost says. “In the church I went to as a kid, I always got messages that being gay was wrong, that it was a sin and against God. I can remember hearing those things over and over. People in church would make horrible comments about gay people, and while they weren’t talking about me specifically, I knew they were, because I knew I was gay.”
By 1987, Yost graduated from high school and began attending Graceland College (now Graceland University) in Lamoni, Iowa. It was there, he says, that his feelings of self-loathing eased and he took his first steps toward accepting himself as a gay man. In college, Yost says, several people in his circle of friends were aware of his sexuality, and he became romantically involved with another man for five months during his senior year. But when he moved to Los Angeles after graduating to pursue his dream of being an actor, he chose to slam the closet door on his sexuality once again.