Though he hadn’t come out to his family yet, Sir Ian McKellen publicly discussed his sexuality during a BBC Radio interview on January 27, 1988. He did so amid the controversy over the Section 28 legislation which prevented local authorities from promoting homosexuality back in 1988. He was 49-years-old at the time. To commemorate his coming out, the 78-year-old actor penned a powerful tweet.
I’ve never met a gay person who regretted coming out – including myself. Life at last begins to make sense, when you are open and honest. Today is the 30th anniversary of the BBC radio discussion when I publically said I was gay. So I’m celebrating!
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) January 27, 2018
A year after publicly coming out, McKellen became a founding member of the activist organization Stonewall. In 2000, Section 28 was finally repealed.
In 2015, McKellen spoke to The Huffington Post about not coming out sooner. “I regret and always shall that I didn’t see the significance of coming out at a much earlier date because I think I would have been a different person and a happier one,” he said.