The actor made the headline-making comments in a March 1 interview with The Guardian's Tom Lamont. In the interview, Tovey recalled his father's refusal to send him to a "theater school" during his teen years.
"I feel like I could have been really effeminate, if I hadn't gone to the school that I went to," he said. "Where I felt like I had to toughen up. If I'd have been able to relax, prance around, sing in the street, I might be a different person now. I thank my dad for that, for now allowing me to go down that path."
That experience, he added, "has probably given me the unique quality that people think I have," which appeared to hint as his ability to play both gay and straight roles in film and on television.
The quotes quickly sparked a backlash on social media, with a number of professed "Looking" fans decrying Tovey's remarks.
"I understand your story/opinion but statements like yours divide the gay community & propagate hate towards us by others. Sad," one user wrote, according to MTV.
Tovey currently stars as Kevin, the boss and on-again, off-again love interest of Patrick Murray (Jonathan Groff) on HBO's "Looking."