Jesse Tyler Ferguson: Pride Isn’t Just ‘About A Day Or Parade’ For Me

As he surveys the previous 10 seasons of ABC’s “Modern Family,” actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson is thrilled to have been part of a “pop culture touchstone” that set a brand new precedent for LGBTQ illustration on mainstream TV and is “holding the door open for the next generation” of queer-inclusive storytelling. 

“It was the biggest thing to happen to all of us, and I don’t think any of us are expecting to have a job like this ever again,” stated Ferguson, who performed Mitchell Pritchett, one-half of the ensemble comedy’s central homosexual couple. With the 11th and ultimate season of the present on the horizon, he added, “My hope is that we only continue to move forward with representation on television.”

“Modern Family” additionally helped land Ferguson, in any other case finest identified for his stage work, on the Hollywood map. He’s constantly used that platform to specific his longstanding dedication to LGBTQ causes, notably in 2012 when he and husband Justin Mikita based Tie The Knot, promoting custom-designed bow ties with proceeds going to pro-marriage equality organizations. After the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015, Tie The Knot shifted its focus considerably, supporting numerous teams “that are in the trenches fighting” for LGBTQ equality at massive.  

And queer themes proceed to infuse a lot of Ferguson’s performing work outdoors of “Modern Family,” too. He’s slated to return to Broadway reverse Jesse Williams in a 2020 revival of Richard Greenberg’s drama, “Take Me Out,” which follows an expert baseball participant (Williams) who comes out as homosexual. Earlier this month, he and Mikita joined Ellen DeGeneres, Adam Rippon and the Fab Five of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” within the star-studded video for Taylor Swift’s new single and musical denouncement of homophobia, “You Need To Calm Down.”

Ferguson spoke to HuffPost after he unveiled the newest Tie The Knot designs (together with one commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion) at a particular Pride Month pop-up store at The Tie Bar in New York. In a candid chat, he touched on his LGBTQ advocacy work, collaborating with Swift and what he sees as the subsequent hurdle for queer-inclusive illustration in Hollywood. 

You launched Tie The Knot as a gesture in help of marriage equality, which turned the legislation of the land in 2015. Why was it vital so that you can keep the model?

We shifted the main focus of Tie The Knot as soon as we achieved full federal marriage rights. Right now, it’s about safety. Achieving marriage equality was an enormous civil rights milestone in LGBTQ historical past, and it was a second price celebrating. What we’re involved about now’s defending these rights that we fought so exhausting to acquire.

So many LGBTQ individuals proceed to be within the line of fireplace in relation to their rights. Look on the transgender military ban or the dangerous bathroom bills. Protecting our marriage rights is wildly vital. There are nonetheless locations in our nation the place you will be married on a Friday and lose your job on Monday, only for marrying the individual you like. And these legal guidelines change over state traces. When we have a look at the larger image, we don’t have full federal equality in relation to protections.

Ferguson (left) introduced Taylor Swift during the pop star's surprise June 14 performance at New York's Stonewall Inn. 

Ferguson (left) launched Taylor Swift in the course of the pop star’s shock June 14 efficiency at New York’s Stonewall Inn. 

Tie The Knot is a collaboration together with your husband, Justin Mikita. What are your discussions like with regard to brainstorming concepts for designs and/or visitor designers?

We encourage our designers to convey us all of their wild concepts. The sky is the restrict with the creation course of, and we take their inspirations and try to develop a wearable design that displays that. Our companions at The Tie Bar are additionally tremendous useful with serving to us sustain with present tendencies. We all the time have a robust imaginative and prescient of what we wish, they usually assist us trip to convey that to life. It’s actually a collaborative effort.

You and Justin made a giant splash within the new Taylor Swift video, “You Need To Calm Down.” Why’d you need to be part of it?

Taylor’s staff reached out to us about being concerned within the video. All we knew is that we’d be getting married within the scene. We didn’t know something extra about it. We weren’t even in a position to hear the track! Unfortunately, our schedule saved us from being concerned on the primary shoot date, so we shot our piece in a studio weeks after nearly all of the video had been shot.

We did our scene in opposition to a inexperienced display and thru the magic of Hollywood, they inserted us into the video. It was like Christmas morning attending to see the entire thing put collectively! We noticed the ultimate product the identical day everybody else did.

“My hope and dream for my LGBTQ family is to reach a place where we can go into any establishment and be treated with respect, without discrimination,” Ferguson stated. 

We’re trying ahead to seeing you again on Broadway subsequent season within the revival of “Take Me Out.” The unique manufacturing was provocative for its time ― why do you assume that story nonetheless feels related immediately, despite the social and cultural strides we’ve made within the LGBTQ area?

I noticed the unique manufacturing twice and I fell in love with the writing of the piece but in addition the efficiency of Denis O’Hare, who won a Tony Award for the position I’ve been provided. It’s wildly intimidating getting into these footwear, however I’m excited in regards to the problem and Denis has been very beneficiant together with his help of the casting.

It reads as a play that was written yesterday. The themes of homophobia — particularly in sports activities — nonetheless really feel wildly related. We have made big strides with LGBTQ illustration on this planet sports activities, however I do know that the braveness to be open in that enviornment nonetheless holds ramifications. There remains to be a stigma. Not everyone seems to be so welcoming. The penalties of being out and proud will not be all the time optimistic. That’s a actuality we’re nonetheless dwelling with immediately.

Ferguson (right) said he sees Pride Month as

Ferguson (proper) stated he sees Pride Month as “an opportunity for re-strengthening, re-inspiring and re-mobilizing” these throughout the LGBTQ group. 

What do you see as the subsequent hurdle for LGBTQ individuals, or narratives, in Hollywood?

I might like to see extra roles representing the trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming group. Additionally, I might like to see members of these communities having the chance to play these roles and inform these tales.

In a best-case situation, what do you hope the subsequent 50 years will appear like when it comes to attaining LGBTQ equality? 

We must maintain shifting ahead. I need to see protections for everybody within the LGBTQ group. For years, we’ve lived with parameters. I might like to see these partitions damaged down. My hope and dream for my LGBTQ household is to achieve a spot the place we will go into any institution and be handled with respect, with out discrimination.

My hope and dream for my LGBTQ household is to achieve a spot the place we will go into any institution and be handled with respect, with out discrimination.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson

What does “Pride” imply to you?

It adjustments as I become older. It was about being seen out loud and proud, and now it’s extra about visibility in a extra grounded approach. It’s not a few day or a parade for me anymore. It’s a second when you have got the eye of the LGBTQ group and their allies. It’s a possibility for re-strengthening, re-inspiring and re-mobilizing. And in fact, it’s second to honor and have fun the place we’ve come from and to rally and unite about the place we need to go.

This interview has been condensed and edited for readability. 

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