Click Click Expose

May 21, 2010

Why is it so hard for audiences to accept gay actors as straight?

Gay Newsweek magazine author Ramin Setoodeh created a firestorm of controversy as he suggested in his April online article that audiences (including him) could not accept gay actors playing straight. For some reason (according to Setoodeh), those actors come off “wooden or insincere” as if they are hiding something about themselves. When I heard these comments I was a bit surprised and shocked. As a gay movie watcher – I am constantly used to seeing straight play gay. Some straight guys do a great job of playing

Movie "Shelter" - two straight actors play gay

Movie "Shelter" - two straight actors play gay

gay characters. But I think it can easily work the other way. All you have to do is turned to such actors as Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Sir Ian McKellen, Anthony Perkins and Sir John Gielgud. These actors have proven time and time again that your personal lifestyle doesn’t have to affect your ability to “act” or “play a role.” It is not about your personal life, it is about your ability to act and play a role – to step outside of yourself and into the role of another character.

But I think this questions points to a much larger issue that has not been addressed. I don’t think it’s about gay playing straight. I think it’s about our perception on exactly what “gay” is. The straight community for decades has always looked at gay and lesbian people through a very narrow lens.   If you are a male, then you are probably a cross dressing, flaming, flamboyant guy. If you are a woman, you are butch or overly manly.   So if perceptions govern reality, then your perception of gay and lesbian people directly translate to your opinion of them on-screen.

Sir Ian McKellen in LOTR - swishy he is not!!

Sir Ian McKellen in LOTR - swishy he is not!!

If your perception of gay men is swishy – then that is what you will see when they are acting no matter what they do.  How they walk, how they talk, how they laugh will directly tie into your “swishy” image of gay men.   If you believe all gay men are hair dressers and flight attendants – then if you see a gay actor playing some macho FBI agent – your perceptions and stereotypes of what gay represents will get in the way of seeing the actor for the role he is in – “playing a FBI agent.”  If your perception of  a lesbian is a car mechanic or woman with more balls than you will ever have – then that is what you will assume all lesbians are  (lipstick lesbians be damned).

This is the mistake, in my opinion, Setoodeh is making in his article.  He is a gay man caught up in the same stereotypes and perceptions that constantly keep LGBT folks from getting their fair share of the American pie.  As a country, we now accept that black actors can play Presidents of the US or heads of companies. We now accept that women can lead police agencies or play roles of power-hungry business leaders.

James Dean - gay, bi, straight - the jury is still out

James Dean - gay, bi, straight - the jury is still out

If we have gotten past those stereotypes, we can get pass the ones of gay playing straight.

It use to be a time when gay actors were scarred to come out as they felt it would destroy their career. Now gay actors have to worry about if they come out, they will be typecast into gay only roles.  How’s that for a double standard…..

Thomas

[ writing for Click Click Expose (Gay Entertainment Media) ]

May 19, 2010

Daniel Radcliffe says he’s not…….gay?

Daniel Radcliffe (not exactly Harry Potter here!)

Daniel Radcliffe (not exactly Harry Potter here!)

aww…you got to love Hollywood rumors. If there is one thing in Hollywood that is sure to sell newspapers, create internet sensation and be the topic of conversation around the water cooler – is if a certain actor or actress is gay or not. Harry Potter fans have been in a tizzy (well maybe not all of the fans – just the gays ones) over whether the actor is gay or not. His participation in the Trevor Project ads in early 2010 gave gay fans hope that the popular actor was actually one of us. Alas, according to Radcliffe, is not true. In an interview he had with MTV news as he was working on the Trevor Project, he categorically denied being gay. “If people want to say that, they can,” he […Daniel Radcliffe…] said. “But I’m not. I’m straight.” He is passionate about the Trevor Project and its goals for all LGBT yourth. The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization that offers suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and Daniel Radcliffe has spoken passionately about the importance of helping these at-risk kids and removing the stigma of coming out. The 20 year old actor has never shied away from the rumors of him being gay and feels it would not have hurt his career in anyway – but alas he says no to the whole gay thing. One can only hope!! But kudos to Radcliffe for being a positive face in the gay and lesbian community – that is why he will always have our continued support.

A little background on our actor:  Radcliffe was born July 23, 1989 in West London, England and began his first experience at acting at age 5.  At age 10 (1999), he made his first acting debut in the BBC’s televised two-part adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel David

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe

Copperfield, portraying the title character as a young boy. Radcliffe auditioned for Harry Potter in 2000 and appeared in his first Harry Potter film in 2001. J.K. Rowling approved of Radcliffe’s portrayal calling him the best choice to play Harry Potter. He has made 6 Harry Potter films with the last two coming out in 2010 and 2011.

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