Broadway and television star Sara Ramirez broke barriers when she played the openly bisexual doctor Callie Torres on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Owning her personal truth as a queer and bisexual woman off-screen, however, was a different matter.
“I was concerned it would affect my career in a negative way. I was afraid of the discrimination I might face not just outside of Hollywood, but within,” Ramirez says in an interview for “Coming Out Stories,” a new video series produced by People and Entertainment Weekly.
Witnessing incidents of anti-LGBTQ violence around the world, including the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, made Ramirez feel “an organic, incremental urgency to use my platform to empower those who are a part of these communities that I’m a part of,” and she came out at the 2016 True Colors Fund’s 40 to None Summit.
Before the “Madam Secretary” actress made her speech, however, she decided to open up about her sexuality with friends during a movie night.
Their response, however, was not nearly as dramatic as she’d anticipated.
“Everyone was very supportive, very happy for me,” she recalled. “The reaction went something like, ‘Huh? Cool. Can we get back to the movie now?’”
These days, Ramirez feels very “lucky and privileged” to have the support of her friends, family and her chosen family. She had a few words, however, for what she’d tell her younger, less-confident self.
“You’re good enough just the way you are,” she said. “Your voice matters, your feelings matter and you belong here. I love you.”