Saturday, August 16, 2014

Gay Actors

On my episode of The Secret Life of Us today, one of the storylines was about how it's hard to be a gay actor. You're pressured to stay in the closet.

The episode I watched was from 2001. I'm wondering if things have changed that much in the last thirteen years.

Sometimes I think about how it's no longer a big deal being gay. Celebrities are coming out of the closet all the time. Really. It's no big deal anymore.

Is that true, though?

Probably not.

It's not like everyday we hear of a different celebrity coming out of the closet. I think it's actually rare enough that when it does happen, it's kind of a big deal.

On The Secret Life of Us, there was also talk about how leading man type actors are pressured to stay in the closet. It's more often the comedians who come out.

Are there any big name leading actors who have come out of the closet? I don't know of any, and this morning I looked at lists and couldn't find any.

The three gay male actors that come most easily to my mind are Neil Patrick Harris, Jim Parsons, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. All three of them are in comedies. I think what's good about these three is they all were out of the closet in the midst of being very popular. It seems a lot of times actors come out of the closet when their careers are no longer soaring.  Hey...remember me? Oh, by the way I'm gay!

And I'm not saying the three mentioned above are the only actors who have come out of the closet in the midst of being popular. I think there's a few more. Probably.

I'm wondering why there aren't a lot of big hit movie star guys who are gay— people with careers like Hugh Jackman and Brad Pitt. Are any people like that gay and hiding it?

Is it just a statistical thing? There's only so many people who are gay, and there's not a lot of big name celebrities. Maybe we could look at other types of people and find they are underrepresented among movie stars. Like how many movie stars are left-handed?

Is there real prejudice and discrimination against gay actors and actresses? Does coming out of the closet hinder careers? Do you get typecast? Are you only wanted for comedy? Are you not wanted at all anymore? Do agents warn against it? Do you lose fans?

I don't know.

Maybe some people are just shy about it?

Or you know...even if Hollywood and the general public are okay with it. Well, what if an actor has a family that's closed-minded about the whole thing? Coming out to the world means you're also coming out to your family.

I don't know. I have questions, but no answers.

I think whether someone wants to be public or private about their sexuality is their choice. My hope, though, is that people who want to be public about it, have the freedom to do so, and that they don't feel pressured by real or imagined forces to stay private.

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