When THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS star Christian LeBlanc (Michael) was a special guest on State of Mind, the YouTube series created by Maurice Benard (Sonny, GENERAL HOSPITAL), he let it all hang out. The discussion began with lighthearted stories about his white hair and about how they first met judging Daytime Emmy reels, but quickly turned serious as the actors talked about mental health and depression. As the second of eight kids in his large southern family, LeBlanc revealed that he’s attended multiple interventions, lost his brother to AIDS when he was just 25, and as a gay man, still suffers from homophobia and intolerance.
When asked his thoughts about teaching mental health in schools, LeBlanc admitted that there are a lot of things that should be taught early in life. “In the regular rhythm of education, we are not exposed to so many things that are the main force driving some people,” he explained. “So, therefore, we are pretty much in a bubble with the people who are driven by the same things. And then you think that you are just the bizarre one.
“Not until after Stonewall did anyone take a gay man serious — they were sick people,” he added. “And I still live with the legacy of that as a gay man. I still don’t hold my husband’s hand — of 28 years — in public. Can’t do it.” Although he chuckled as he confessed: “I mean, we’re not big PDA people. I’m not a hand-holder as it is.”
Although the Emmy-winner allows that things are better now than in years past, there is still homophobia and intolerance everywhere in the world. “The thing about the ‘good old days’ is they were just horrible for everybody,” LeBlanc declared. “History is more than one story and it’s written by the wealthy and the franchised. The winners write the history. But when you feel you’re not being heard and nobody knows who you are and you’re covered up, then trouble happens. Mental health problems, violence, all those things. My brother was treated as somebody who had a special cancer that only happened to him because of a moral failing at 25. And he died because of it. Don’t make any mistake – the government killed him.”
Sadly, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Thankfully, Leblanc assured Benard and his fans that he has the tools he needs to stay in a good mental place despite all the pressures society places on him and everyone else. You can watch the entirety of their fascinating conversation in the video below.