For most of season 1 of Sense8, a gay actor, Lito Rodriguez (Miguel Angel Silvestre), struggled in the closet while making and promoting films in Mexico. He had a boyfriend, Hernando (Alfonso Herrera), but fears of destroying his career kept him from going public with his relationship.
All of that has changed in season 2 of the Netflix series created by the Wachowski siblings, which depicts a group of strangers who discover they are psychically linked. (Spoilers ahead!) Rodriguez is outed when a compromising photograph is published online. After choosing how to address the situation -- weighing whether to deny the truth or embrace his identity -- he chooses the latter and agrees to be the grand marshal of Sao Paulo Pride in Brazil.
In his speech at Pride -- the scene was actually filmed at Sao Paulo Pride last year -- Rodriguez addresses the pressures placed on actors to remain in the closet. He explains why his decision to not reveal his identity was so damaging.
"All of my life, I've had to pretend to be something I wasn't ... I couldn't be what I am. I am a gay man. I've never said those words in public before. I am a gay man! I am a gay man!" he proclaims.
"Why did I have to be so afraid to say that? Because I know that people are afraid of people that are different than them. And admitting that I'm different, and refusing to be something that I am not, may cost me a career of pretending to be things that I am not, which is kind of crazy when you think about it. But I did. I did. For years, I was living inside the fake world of movies, never to imagine that one day, I might be brave enough to do something like this," Rodriguez continues, before introducing his partner to the crowd and embracing him with a kiss.
"This is Hernando. He is the love of my life. I am a better and braver person because of him. And whatever it cost for me to be able to do this, I know in my heart that it is worth it."
Even in 2017, many real-life entertainers, like Rodriguez, refuse to discuss their being gay or the person they love for fear of losing their fan base or facing discrimination within the industry. Barry Manilow, after half a century in showbiz and hiding a 40-year relationship, came out earlier this year at the age of 73. He waited so long because he was afraid of "disappointing" his fans.
Hopefully, Rodriguez's speech (and Manilow) many inspire others to be out and proud. Watch the moving scene below. And don't miss season 2 of Sense8, which is now available on Netflix.