IN advising a "young, vulnerable soap actor" not to come out, Brian Beacom cites two reasons: "gay performers are less marketable" and thus in danger of "losing out on the widest range of roles"; and similar to gay footballers, may receive a negative reaction from both the media and the public on the grounds that "we're still part of a society that is endemically homophobic" ("Barrowman is wrong: gay actors are right not to come out", The Herald, May 23).

This is like saying to the parents of a black child, "don't encourage your son to take up professional football as he is likely to receive abuse from the stands and unlikely to progress into coaching and management as these are roles predominantly occupied by men who are white".

Mr Beacom's well-meaning but misguided advice is based on fear rather than courage and sends a damaging message to children and young adults who currently or in future will identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. And it pushes those struggling with their sexuality even further into the closet.

No one (whether that be a high-profile actor, footballer or member of the public) should be forced to come out against their will as it's a very personal decision and one which is arrived at after careful consideration.

But to deny your sexuality is corrosive – mentally, physically and emotionally. All of which has a negative impact on your confidence; your ability to do your job and forge close relationships with family, friends and colleagues; and more importantly, your happiness.

To the gay actor mulling over Mr Beacom's advice, I would say this: the choice to come out is yours; but the sooner you do so, the sooner the weight of guilt, denial and evasion will be lifted from your shoulders.

Sure, you may wish to avoid the limelight and let your work take centre stage. Not to mention protect your loved ones. But given the media circus (actual and social) surrounding stars of television and film (less so stage), it's better to be open and honest than hounded and smeared.

As Luke Evans, the hunky star of Beauty and the Beast, said in a 2017 interview with the gay magazine Attitude: "Talent, success, what you do in your personal life – I don’t see how one should have an effect on the other. I don’t think I’d be in this business if I felt that I was not being employed because of who I am in my personal life."

Peter Callaghan, Falkirk.