Kate Winslet Says Young Hollywood Actors are Afraid To Make Their Sexuality Public Because They Won’t Get Straight Roles
Often, I feel like the world around us is being pulled in opposite directions, and people smack in the middle of it are being stretched too thin. On the one end is a world that is progressing by leaps and bounds, whether it is in scientific thought, technological advancement or sociological revolution. On the other hand, though, there is a lot of regressive thought, fostered by religion and political motivations, that continues to fester underneath and was never really cleaned up. The result? Even though we have all these movements for change in place, it is not reaching the right people. So while we have many celebrities coming out of the closet, actor Kate Winslet has revealed that there are still those who are afraid that owning their sexuality will limit their career prospects in Hollywood.
The actor, who was recently seen in Ammonite alongside Saoirse Ronan, will soon be seen in Mare Of Easttown, a limited series crime drama about a troubled detective in small town Pennsylvania trying to keep her life from falling apart.
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In a recent interview, the Titanic actor talked about how Hollywood continues to be a conservative, judgemental and homophobic industry which is likely to discriminate against actors who have come out about their sexuality. Without mentioning names, she told Sunday Times Culture, “A well-known actor has just got an American agent and the agent said, ‘I understand you are bisexual. I wouldn’t publicize that.’ I can think of at least four actors absolutely hiding their sexuality. It’s painful. Because they fear being found out.”
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In fact, she believes that many young generation actors are not owing their sexuality because they are terrified of not getting straight roles because of it.
“I cannot tell you the number of young actors I know—some well known, some starting out—who are terrified their sexuality will be revealed and that it will stand in the way of their being cast in straight roles.”
This is, of course, such a ridiculous notion to uphold, that gay actors cannot play straight parts and vice versa. If you just picked up any episode How I Met Your Mother and watched Neal Patrick Harris play serial womaniser Barney Stinson, or White Collar and watched Matt Bomer play the charming and sexy Neal Caffrey, you’d barely realise that these very, very straight characters have been played by gay men
Similarly, we’ve had straight actors, like Kate Winslet, have played homosexual characters with equal conviction (Ammonite). I mean, it is acting, right? Isn’t that all about putting on characters who are much unlike you? Isn’t being able to pull that off the mark of a great actor?
Then, what gives?
Winslet further called out Hollywood for keeping up this frankly ridiculous idea that gay actors cannot play straight characters.
“Hollywood has to drop that dated crap of, ‘Can he play straight because, apparently, he’s gay?’ That should be almost illegal…and it can’t just be distilled to the question about gay actors playing gay parts. Because actors, in some cases, are choosing not to come out for personal reasons.”
That’s something so easily plausible. Imagine a Hollywood heartthrob who has gained acclaim and popularity playing the lead in a rom-com, an out-and-out action film, or a superhero franchise. If they were to come out as LGBTQ+, it is not hard to imagine that the conservative industry would start narrowing the options it has to offer them for work. And we’re not even counting fan backlash. Like, can you imagine casting an LGBTQ+ actor as one of the leads in a film like Fifty Shades of Grey? We’ve only now begin to accept Marvel having LGBTQ+ superheroes in its lineup, for crying out loud!
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Recently, several celebrities, from actors like Elliot Page, to pop stars like Demi Lovato who recently revealed that she is pansexual and currently fluid, have begun talking openly about their sexuality. And while it seems like we see more and more of people finally finding the courage to be who they are, revelations like the one made my Kate Winslet above are a reminder that we have a really long way to go. It is especially important when celebrities and influencers do this, because by owning up who they are, they set healthy examples for their young fans and followers to also not hold themselves back and come to terms with their own sexuality. This can help release any mental health pressures that might be on their minds, and ensure that we don’t lose more young people to depression.
What having more inclusivity on screen can also do is normalise it for the older generation, and perhaps, through entertainment, educate them and make them more open to acceptance.