Go, Gay Power Ranger!

As the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers celebrates its 20th anniversary, David Yost, the actor who played the original Blue Ranger, shares the story of how he overcame bullying in Hollywood, suicidal tendencies, and a nervous breakdown on the road to accepting himself as a gay man.

BY Jase Peeples

November 05 2013 6:00 AM ET

Above: Yost and Karan Ashley sign their names in concrete at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre for the launch of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie in 1995.

In 2010, Yost decided to come out publicly in an interview with No Pink Spandex and share his story for the first time after a rash of LGBT teen suicides gained national media attention. He also began working with LGBT youth organizations like the Trevor Project. “The influx of teen suicides in the media became overwhelming for me and it was weighing heavily on my heart,” he says. “I wanted to let people know what I had put myself through — all the darkness and mental anguish — and how unnecessary it all was. I could relate to the religious context that so many experience and the condemnation they can feel from their churches, their families, and their peers. I hoped that my story would resonate enough with anyone struggling or contemplating suicide to reconsider and find another way.”

Since coming out, Yost says, he has received an outpouring of support from fans who grew up idolizing the blue spandex-clad superhero he once portrayed, and many have told him they were indeed moved by hearing about his struggles. “Because of the 20th anniversary of Power Rangers, I’ve been attending a lot of conventions around the world this year,” Yost says. “No matter where we’re at, there’s at least one person who approaches me and thanks me for coming out and telling my story because it helped them come out to their family and friends. I’m glad that people are able to take some kind of courage from what I went through and be who they are."

Though Yost is no longer directly involved in Power Rangers, he says he harbors no bad feelings about his past with the series, and he remains close to several of his costars. “Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about forgiveness,” he says. “For the most part, [the Power Rangers crew] have been very accepting and a couple of people have even told me they were sorry if they’d ever said anything that upset or hurt me back then.”

Today, Yost continues to work in entertainment behind the camera for a variety of TV shows, including The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Burning Love. But he hopes to see diversity in programing aimed at young people evolve to include LGBT characters in the near future. “I would love to see a gay character introduced on a show like Power Rangers,” he says. “There’s a whole realm of possible stories there we’ve only begun to tap into, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and intersex young people need to see themselves reflected in world around them.”

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