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You Are Here: Home » Featured, Opinions and Rants » Will You Straight Actors PLEASE Shut The Hell Up About Being “Uncomfortable” Playing Gay Roles?

 

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IN “this is so stupid” news a self proclaimed author and “actor” Nicholas Brown found it pertinent to divulge the trials and tribultion of a straight actor playing a gay role. In the oh so (NOT) riveting Why Do I Still Feel Uncomfortable Playing a Gay Man on TV?, Brown questions the thougtht processes that he goes through to portray a gay man, accurately or otherwise.  Overall in a very vague sentiment of history, stereotypes, and prejudices, Brown recalls how gay roles are very trying, even though he has a plethora of friends and family who are gay:

I am not gay. I have no shortage of gay friends. My uncle is gay. I’ve marched in a gay pride parade. More than half of the roommates I have lived with are gay. I support marriage equality.

So it comes as a shock to me when I realize that, actually, if I am honest with myself, I’m not comfortable with kissing another man on camera. I really don’t want to book this part.

I don’t want people to think I’m gay. And I’m even more uncomfortable because that isn’t a thought that I want to have.

Acting is a curious profession. The Oscars tend to award actors who transfigure themselves. Think of Charlize Theron in Monster or Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote. And most actors actively want to stretch outside of themselves. That is, after all, why we tried to make a career out of pretending. But people tend to assume things about you after they have seen you onstage. The character and the person are conflated.

Still, I wouldn’t turn down a commercial that required me to pretend to slap a child, or one where I played a Nazi. And—assuming the ad wasn’t advocating child abuse or Nazism—I don’t think I would feel odd about the audition.

Alright enough is enough. The rest of the article reads as some power point to justify Brown’s “bold” declaration. And since Brown is so forthcoming, I’ll return the favor. Your article is insulting and I am so sick of these vain pretentious actors like you Brown being praised and recognized for playing gay characters. And here you go thinking that they’re “brave” and then complaining about how uncomfortable you felt during the process of doing YOUR JOB? Please shut the hell up.

Every time you go out and say something so inanely stupid further perpetuates this inaccurate stereotype that being gay is a chore. That being gay is some big effort that requires a lot of effort.And on some subconscious level, you talking about being “uncomfortable” implies to the reader that gay is a choice. Because you imply that you can play an abuser or murderer with ease, but something that involves a nonviolent kiss with a guy gives you concern and you have to make a conscious effort to participate (instead of just not going for gay roles, which would actually make sense).

You choosing a r0le is a choice. Me responding to your ignorant article is a choice. Being gay is not a choice.  Even when discussing the matter of the discrepancies of gay actors being denied playing straight characters and giving justifications isn’t about you wanting to expand  your talent. It’s about money and your wallet. Since you’re taking this existential journey why not go all the way and be honest about it. I think what you were trying to do was discuss it as a process like any normal job preparation but instead tried to justify why you and others feel that way. Well let me tell you, you missed the mark.

You’re probably wondering in astonishment why I am being so confrontational about your statements, failing to see my issue is. Well, for the most part, we spend on average about the first two decades or more of our lives finally accepting our sexuality. Some of us still repress it because there is still a need to fit into society rather than accepting and completely owning that we are sexual beings.. Not that being being gay is difficult but because life is difficult. Acceptance is difficult.  Society is difficult. Out culture that slowly moves towards equality and on a consciously accepts on a moralistic level to demonize gay makes our lives difficult. Misconceptions and ignorance is the catalyst to all of this and Brown, you’re serving up a hefty pile of it in your article.

In all fairness, Brown does try to repair some of his verbal damage by issuing an apology, and it is suggestive, albeit not clear, on wanting to change that part of himself as he recognizes this flaw in himself:

I, at least, am sorry. You don’t have to believe in a Judeo-Christian god to find something redeeming in confession. I am sorry that I balked at the idea of pretending to be gay. I am sorry that my uncle went home alone all those years. I am sorry for the whole ugly human history of slights and hate crimes and exclusion.

It seems important to acknowledge the depth and power of our biases, particularly at a time of year when many of us try to devote ourselves to being better people. There is something vicious in each of us. Depressing though that may seem, focusing on our flaws is a first necessary part of wanting to be better. The hope that we can be better, it seems to me, deserves great celebration.

Even in your apology, you congratulate yourself but offer no substance to it like how you would work to understand why this uncomfortable stance exists within you. That would be an actual benefit but again, your vague reasoning is so aloof from substance.

And your weak, strained opinion on how hard it is for you to portray a gay character further represses us. We get enough of this shit from NOM and FRC but I sometimes wonder if people like you are the ones that do the most damage. People that claim accpetance, seeminly nonintrusive and welcoming, spreading ignorance and a pompous air of accomplishment. We already have vapid nihilists like Bret Easton Ellis for that Brown so we doon’t need you adding to the collective pool of derisive ignorance. You or any other actor making the same stupid statements are not brave for making this declaration. You’re assholes.

About the author

Sly Merritt has written 383 articles on this blog.

Sly Merritt has a BA in psychology/sociology. MA in clinical psychology. He's a flip flop wearing hippy with a peaceloving mindset. Even pacifists like him know when it's time to do all we can for LGBTQ equality. Sly's views are all opinions not advice.

4 Comments

  1. Chad says:

    Hi Sly, I didn’t interpret Nicolas’ article as suggesting that being gay was a chore, or that playing a gay role is trying. What I got from it was that he found some unconscious prejudice bubbling up in him and it made him question his identity as an open-minded person. So he wrote an article about it as a way to start working though it. You seem to like writing for an audience too, can you relate to his desire for public exposition and why it might be therapeutic for him?

    Your signature says that you’re studying clinical psychology. Forgive me for not knowing what that entails exactly, but I’ll assume you’ve had some experience with psychotherapy. If you were Nicolas’ therapist, and he expressed the same feelings that he does in his article, is this how you would respond to him? Telling him he’s an asshole? Is hetero guilt so irredeemable?

    • Sly says:

      Hey Chad, thank you for taking time to give a response. That most likely was not his intent but it definitely, at least to me, was the way his article read. Even now when you refer to the process and despite that sound inference, reading that Brown has family and friends that are gay yet there is still a lot of exposition on why Brown has the this issue is problematic. This vague (possibly just poorly worded) process, suggests that there is something about homosexuality he can’t get pass. And it feels that his recognition of this process is enough without defining possible solutions. And while he may be making an attempt to process where that comes from, it only states why he as well as others give the same justifications of fear and ignorance.

      The approach in general is detached and the apology shallow. It’s disconcerting hearing an actor make instances and examples of how it’d be easier to portray an abuser but finds difficulty in kissing another man. The etiology may be due to many reasons but I dare not speculate where it comes from as that is not the function of any article I write here. And while yes I do have experience with psychotherapy, that also is not my function as a writer here for this or any other site. It is merely my opinion and does not reflect my training or anything resembling a professional opinion.

      When you share opinions, like that of Brown, you have to do so at a clear resounding level that provides a clear answer to the dilemma. Too much in our society is it seen to have negative views about homosexuality, not just from oppressors but also positions of weak introspection like Brown.

      • Chad says:

        I can see where you’re coming from. I have my own issues with his article. But I felt like it came from an honest place, and I think that’s worth encouraging vs tearing down.

  2. Icsifil says:

    It’s just really privileged.
    Gay people have to play straight all the time, because that’s what out there to play. Seeing a straight actor whine about playing a gay role is sort of like seeing Rathborne whinging about how they hope the audience suspends disbelief for his yellow face or seeing some male action-fan complaining about not being able to envision himself in the part of a woman lead-film.
    It just makes me want to grab them on the shoulders and shout “We have to deal with that all the time while you continuously get represented! Stop complaining that we actually are being included!”

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