In wake of suicides, Gay actor Chris Villa tells story
 

Seattle Gay News
Mobile Edition
rss: SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml



SGN Mobile Front Page

SGN ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT SECTION

MOVIE REVIEWS
CALENDAR
NORTHWEST NEWS CALENDAR
CLASSIFIED

click here to go to the main SGN website

 

posted Friday, November 5, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 45

In wake of suicides, Gay actor Chris Villa tells story
by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

There has been an intense response from the LGBT community in the wake of the recent LGBT youth suicides. After the launch of the 'It Gets Better' media campaign, more and more LGBT adults are reminiscing about their childhood years and telling their stories.

Openly Gay actor Chris Villa is one of those people. For the last two months, Villa has been touring Los Angeles high schools, appearing on radio and news interviews to share his story of how he overcame a Gay bashing that left him near death, and became an accomplished actor with such credits as CSI and The Shield.

Villa recalls that he was at a party in Tampa FL, with other high school students; most of them not from his high school.

'I went back to the car to lie down and some guys yelled out 'Faggot!' & I just kept walking. & The next thing I know, I'm being dragged into a van and my face is being beat. I had lacerations on my throat from being choked. & [There were] four or five of them & they drove me to an area and dropped me off,' Villa told SGN.

A good Samaritan found Villa and took him to a nearby hospital.

'The next thing I knew, my mom and my brother were looking over me,' said Villa. 'That was kind of my coming out experience. It wasn't talked about back then.'

During his six-week recovery, he contemplated suicide, but instead reached out to his family and guidance counselors for help.

'I didn't say I got beaten up 'cause I was Gay,' Villa told SGN, 'I just said I got beaten up. & I started lifting weights so that nothing like that would ever happen to me again.'

The experience still haunted him, however, and to cope, he turned to drugs and alcohol.

'I've overcome a lot of my own stuff to get this far in my life,' Villa said recently. 'I relive my own personal horror every time something like this [youth suicide] happens.'

Now, Villa - who is sober and in recovery for both drugs and alcohol - helps Gay youth by talking to them about how he survived.

'I'm around high school students and Gay and Transgender youth all the time & and their sexuality is really being tested right now,' said Villa.

'Life for me is good today, but I know many kids are struggling to come out. I was there. I was beaten and left for dead. I understand what [suicide victim] Tyler [Clementi] went through. I'm grateful I survived,' said Villa.

Villa was spurred to take action after his stepfather passed away. He was looking through boxes when he came across the photo that was taken of him after the beating.

'I kind of blocked it for a while. & I'm so used to seeing myself in headshots & but this was so different. A flood of tears came out of me,' Villa told SGN.

From soap operas to Gatorade commercials to performing with Mariah Carey, Villa has come a long way. His experience as a youth has, in some ways, defined him, but he hasn't let it stop him.

'I don't think there's enough going on in the school system; I don't think there is enough going on with guidance counselors. There is just not enough going on to show that kids are different,' Villa told SGN, 'and that's why I'm doing this.'



next story
Capitol Hill credit fraud investigation continues
------------------------------
ELECTION UPDATES: Patty Murray wins, Rick Larsen leads, Dems still control legislature
------------------------------
McDermott heads to King County Council
------------------------------
Generation gap divides troops on Gays in the military
------------------------------
Finding your festival place
------------------------------
Candidate Zeiger's homophobic remarks televised in 2006
------------------------------

------------------------------
Stop outing Gays, Uganda court tells tabloid
------------------------------
Obama appoints record number of open homosexuals
------------------------------
Voters say, 'No new taxes!'
------------------------------
Pro-equality Iowa judges ousted
------------------------------
Peppercorn Bistro holds South Seattle Mixer
------------------------------
Gay man likely to become next president of Ireland
------------------------------
Ask Michael: Fear fuels hatred
------------------------------
In wake of suicides, Gay actor Chris Villa tells story
------------------------------
Megachurch pastor announces he's Gay
------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------
Gay Veteran, 81, Awaits Repeal of 'Don't Ask' Policy
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 36 YEARS!