Gender-Bending Hollywood: It's Time To Put The Boxing Gloves Down


Dallas Buyers Club
Let's bring balance to who gets which roles in Hollywood.

Straight actors playing gay characters, and gay actors playing straight characters. Equal opportunity or not?

To play or not to play, that is the question! No, I'm not referring to another baseball strike. Instead, let's talk straight actors stealing all the gay roles, e.g. Jared Leto playing Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club (big clap for the Oscar winner), and gay actors stealing all the straight roles, e.g. Zachary Quinto playing Spock in Star Trek Into The Darkness. Where's the equality in all of this?


I'm no historian, but from my limited view, let's set a few records straight — and I don't mean sexually. Shakespeare, Ancient Greece and Laurel and Hardy. For crying out loud, straights have been playing gays and women for probably as long as this earth has been floating around the universe. Granted, homosexuality, transgender and asexuality, weren't terms that had been woven into the linguistics in those early times, but trust me, somehow some way, someone somewhere was saying, "Why does he/she get to play him/her when they're a male/female." This is an age-old problem, so I'm curious … why is this an issue that comes up, every time an actor (politically correct way of addressing both male and female performers) steals a role that should have been given to someone who is "authentically gay or straight," to play the "authentically gay or straight role!" It’s called, AUDITION, TALENT and BEST SUITED FOR THE ROLE.

I swear, hand over my heart, I'm a gay man, and I'm all for equal rights all the way down the line of life, but if Neil Patrick Harris make us laugh our assess off playing Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, Kevin McHale can rock a wheelchair on GLEE without ever moving his fully functioning, dancing legs from moving, and Sam Worthington still has the ability to make gay men and straight women drool as Jake Sully, a paralyzed marine in James Cameron's 2009 3D blockbuster, Avatar, then so be it.

If we're going to cry foul, then let's cry foul on many fronts, which after conducting research for this article, I realize there's lots of crying foul going on. Non-handicapped individuals playing handicapped roles. African-American actors playing Caucasian roles. White actors playing minority roles. Aussies playing Americans. Americans playing French. It’s a veritable melting pot of cross-cultural DNA being abused in this world we call "entertainment," yet, for some reason, every time a straight actor plays gay for pay, and not talking porno, that’s a whole different article, both sides of the fence done their boxing gloves and do battle. Of course the gay boxing gloves are fabulous Pink with rhinestones, so of course the distraction of the shimmer reflecting, leads to an instant knockout, and the "gays win again!” Oh, get over it! I’m simply being stereotypical because if I don’t someone will decide they need to be about us gays.

The point of all this is, not unlike gay marriage battles, rights for gays to adopt, women to have equal rights, and blacks to not have to sit at the back of the bus, and any other desecration of human rights, it's time to let the actors who best can play the role, play the role. And, by jove, if they can deliver a "take your breath away speech" like Leto's, then line up those Champagne Glasses and give the man, who played a fabulous transgender women, another gold man to hold in his other hand to keep him balanced.

Simultaneously, while we bring balance to who gets which roles in Hollywood, for the sake of Sundance and this Golden Globe we inhabit called Mother Earth, let’s all remember the bottom line is love. Love is the seed that sprouts when people are given the opportunity to do what they do best regardless of race, color, sexual orientation, gender, or the roles they've been given to play by Hollywood.

Tolerating intolerance in any way shape or form simply isn't cool. Each and every person on this earth has a right to …

  • Love another person, regardless of biological sex, simply because they love them
  • Play a role they were meant to play, because they are best suited to captivate an audience
  • Create life to foster the next generation, regardless of how that life is created, or by whom he or she will be raised
  • Sit anywhere they want to in a restaurant, or bus because they’re living human beings
  • Dream a dream and live it because that’s as much a human right as breathing the air needed to live a life

Whether it's Hollywood or the history of our past that brought us to this point of “It’s time to accept that were all humans, having a human experience,” let’s all go for the role of a lifetime, win our own Oscar, and proudly state, “I want to thank each and everyone of you for allowing me to just be me!”

Tired of hiding behind a false mask of "I can't be?" Step into your authentic self, and start standing on your own two feet of truth, because the truth will set you free. Schedule a complimentary coaching session with Life Coach Rick today, and discover the power of living an authentic life even without winning an Oscar!

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Article contributed by

Rick Clemons


Rick Clemons, The Gay Man's Life Coach & The Coming Out Coach

Rick is a straight-forward, compassionate, insightful, challenging, mentor, guide, and Certified Professional Coach who's been featured on The Ricki Lake Show, and is a highly sought after radio show personality, blogger, author, and faculty member of Sex Coach U. His loving, challenging, gentle, and inspiring approach ignites a fire in clients, helping them get through the darkest moments of life and come out the other side, kicking butt, and being authentically themselves.

Rick thrives, working with individuals, and those in their inner circle, as they embark on the journey out of the closet and beyond. He specializes in helping people build confidence, live their passion while loving their work, and live authentically. Authenticity isn't just a word he throws around lightly. It's the backbone of his practice and the manner in which he personnally strives to live each and every day of his own life.

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