Freedom Fighters: The Ray Star Says His Father Wanted to "Cure" Him of Being Gay

Russell Tovey, who plays The Ray in The CW's shared universe of DC Comics adaptations colloquially known as the Arrowverse, told an interviewer recently that his father sought to force him to undergo medical treatments to "cure" him, after Tovey came out as gay during his teen years. The actor said that he did not think there was any animosity driving his father's instincts, but that his parents did not have any frame of reference or anything that would help them make a more informed judgment on what to say when their then-18-year-old son came out to them.

Tovey said that he came out when he was 18, and that the initial shock and disbelief does not seem to have hurt his long-term relationship with his parents. He calls his mother the most important person in his life and said that he now talks to his parents about relationship issues.

"I don't think either of my parents were homophobic, they just didn’t know any gay people or anyone with gay kids. They had nothing to cling to," Tovey told the Sunday Times. "My dad thought it could be cured. He was scared about what my life would be like. To him, being gay was a road of pitfalls and unhappiness; out of love he wanted to correct this weakness, to put cotton wool around me and protect me from all that. People react in different ways, there’s no rhyme or reason, but if you love someone you have to respect the process."

Tovey's mother Carole, who joined him for the interview, wasn't sure whether it was about protecting her son, or struggling with traditional masculinity. She admitted that she, too, briefly struggled with the reality, since it made it less likely she would have a biological grandchild.

"George had a hard time with it. It took him about three years to come to terms with it," she admitted. "I think it was to do with pride, his idea of what makes you a man. He thought we’d somehow made Russell gay. He said: 'We'll get him hormone treatment.' He found it hard to see that Russ was happy and we had to accept it."

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Tovey first appeared in the Arrowverse as part of the "Crisis on Earth-X" crossover event in 2017. His character, The Ray, hailed from Earth-X and was the romantic interest of Citizen Cold, that world's version of Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). The character also briefly appeared in "Crisis on Infinite Earths," as well as appearing in an animated series set on Earth-X, titled Freedom Fighters: The Ray.

Following the events of "Crisis on Infinite Earths," which rewrote the Arrowverse timeline, an episode of The Flash established that the character exists on Earth-Prime, opening the door for future appearances by Tovey.