Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey stand closely in 'Fellow Travelers.'

Jonathan Bailey Dedicated His Critics Choice Award Win to the LGBTQ+ Community

Jonathan Bailey picked up his award for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series at the 2024 Critics Choice Awards for his role as Timothy Laughlin in Fellow Travelers. The actor dedicated his win to all those who suffered as LGBTQ+ members and allies during the ’80s and ’90s, noting that the struggle isn’t over yet.

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Fellow Travelers, a mini-series adapted from the novel by Thomas Mallon, is a political romance and thriller that follows the characters of Tim (Bailey) and Hawkins ‘Hawk’ Fuller (Matt Bomer) as they try to navigate their sexuality throughout the decades from the ’50s Lavender Scare through to the ’80s AIDs crisis. The series looks at just how difficult, and indeed dangerous, it could be to be outed years ago and how such a puritanical society had a stranglehold on the LGBTQ+ community.

Bailey won the Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series award at the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, January 14, for his performance as the gay, idealistic, and loving character of Tim. Though Bailey is himself gay, this was his first time performing as a gay character, telling The Hollywood Reporter that he was drawn to the role because “It felt new and it hadn’t been done in this way—in an elevated, eight-hour, rich aesthetic with gay actors.”

Upon receiving his award, Bailey acknowledged his co-star, joking, “Those of you who have seen Fellow Travelers will know that Matt and I come together.” He also mentioned the director, Ron Nyswaner, and his family (particularly his Nana, which was very sweet). He also used the moment to acknowledge why the show has been so important to so many, stating:

“For many, it’s an education, but to us, it’s a vital truth. This series is a much-needed reminder that LGBTQ+ people have always existed, mostly hidden. They have always been fighting for an easier life for the generations that follow. So, I thank those who came before me, who created a world where I can stand here today and win an award for telling their story.”

For the longest time, LGBTQ+ people were not allowed to just “exist” in society, so to have a show that allows their story to be told, depicting what they fought through to be seen, and to love who they want to love proves just how far we have come. But, there is still more work to be done, as Bailey pointed out at the end of his speech just as the music started to play him off, calling out:

“To all the people who lost their lives and loves in the ’80s and ’90s, and to every LGBTQ+ person living in a bigoted community which still surrounds us, this is for you!”

Two men (Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bomer) sit in an AIDS clinic waiting room in 'Fellow Travelers.'

Things have progressed a lot since the end of the 20th century, as major parts of the world now have a better understanding and more awareness of LGBTQ+ people. That being said, even in countries that consider themselves “progressive,” bigotry, hate, and fear aimed at the community still exists.

Shows like Fellow Travelers create a space where people can feel seen, discussions can be had, and hopefully, more empathy and understanding can be found. Well done, Jonathan Bailey, for a deserved win and an inspiring speech.

(featured image: Showtime)

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Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, having written for digital media since 2022 and has a keen interest in all things Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and takes the little free time left to explore Japan.