Sir Ian McKellen believes that 'X-Men' is an metaphor for young gay men.

The 75-year-old actor - who plays Magneto in the 'X-Men' film series - has described the comic books, on which the movies are based, as an outlet for people who feel marginalised.

He said: ''The people who created 'X-Men' were writing a parable about the way society treated minorities - and the demographic for the comics over the years has been young blacks, young Jews and young gays. They all identify with the mutants - and they're meant to.''

Sir Ian also spoke about his own coming out experience in 1988 and why he decided to help others who might be scared about the reaction to their sexuality.

He told Gay Times magazine: ''I was sometimes a successful theatre actor in those days. It meant that I got a lot of publicity and had access to the media in a way that other people who'd been out longer than me - and had more to say and perhaps were more savvy about the world - didn't have.''