LOS ANGELES, April 22 (UPI) -- Ten years after Daniel Franzese played gay teen Damian in the instant Lindsay Lohan classic, Mean Girls, the 35-year-old actor has come out in a touching letter to his beloved character.
In the letter, pushed by IndieWire, Franzese contrasts Damian's confidence with his own.
"You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor," Franzese writes. "You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. I might've been easier to be gay growing up."
Franzese says he resented Damian at first, because Hollywood casting agents didn't want to consider him for "masculine" roles.
"There were industry people who had seen me play you in Mean Girls but never seen me read in an audition but still denied me to be seen for 'masculine' roles," he says. "Damian, you had ruined my life and I was really pissed at you. I became celibate for a year and a half. I didn’t go to any gay bars, have any flings and I lied to anyone who asked if I was gay. I even brought a girl to the Mean Girls premiere and kissed her on the red carpet, making her my unwitting beard."
But Franzese says his attitude begin to change when "grown men started to coming up to me on the street - some of them in tears - and thanking me for being a role model to them."
"I had the perfect opportunity in 2004 to let people know the REAL Daniel Franzese," he continues. "Now in 2014 - ten years later - looking back, it took YOU to teach me how to be proud of myself again. ... So, I’m not afraid anymore. Of Hollywood, the closet or mean girls."
Franzese also quotes Mean Girls in a post-script, writing "I hate it when people say I’m 'too gay to function.'"
"It really is ONLY okay when Janis says it," he adds.
Here's video of Franzese reading part of his letter: