Wayne Brady Comes Out As Pansexual

“This is who I am, and I wanna stand next to you.”

In a recent interview with PEOPLE, Wayne Brady came out as pansexual. The 51-year-old “Let’s Make a Deal” host said that he repressed his sexuality due to shame for years but is now ready to say “I am pansexual.”

“In doing my research, both with myself and just with the world, I couldn’t say if I was bisexual, because I had to really see what that was, especially because I really have not gotten a chance to act on anything,” the famed tv host and actor told PEOPLE.

“So I came to pansexual because — and I know that I’m completely messing up the dictionary meaning — but to me, pan means being able to be attracted to anyone who identifies as gay, straight, bi, transsexual or non-binary.”

GLAAD defines pansexual as “a person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to any person, regardless of gender identity.”

Brady was married to Diana Lasso from 1993 to 1995, and was married to Mandie Taketa from 1999 to 2008. He shares a 20-year-old daughter with Taketa.

Brady went on to say that his conservative upbringing deterred him from coming out earlier. He told PEOPLE that he grew up with the rhetoric that being called “gay” was an insult. “What’s the fastest way to hurt another man? I’m gonna call you out of your name. I’m gonna call you gay. I’m gonna emasculate you. I’m gonna use the F-word. I learned that very early from the people around me…” Wayne also ignored his attraction to men and other genders “because I live in today’s world, and it’s scary as shit.”

Shame also played a huge factor in Wayne keeping his sexuality private. He had friends in the LGBTQ+ community but felt like he wasn’t being real with himself by staying in the closet. “I’ve dealt with the shame. A shame cake, just eating it every single day — and then worried about… people finding out. I’ve always had a wonderful community of friends who are in the LGBTQ+ community, people that I’ve grown up with in shows, gays and lesbians, and, later in life, my trans relatives and my niece. I’ve always had that community, but I’ve always felt like a sham because I wasn’t being forthcoming with myself. I could speak out about Black issues because I can’t hide that. And you can play at being an ally, but until the day that you can truly say, “This is who I am, and I wanna stand next to you,” that’s not… I always wanted that day to come,” he told PEOPLE.

What’s next for Brady’s dating life? “I’ve been attracted to men at times in my life. But I have never dated a man.”

Welcome to the family, Wayne Brady!

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