Gay people made Hollywood, but you wouldn’t know it from the movies (Guardian)

Great article on the continuing conversation of LGBTQ actors in film and television. Hugh Elliott over at The Guardian reminds us of some facts,

As 50s heartthrob Tab Hunter points out, Tinseltown’s phobia of gay men in leading roles isn’t a thing of the past. Who is the industry afraid of offending?

When I came out of the closet and declared to my family that I was a homosexual at 19, I had just moved to San Francisco. Not yet ravaged by the Plague, the city was an infamous gay Mecca, still drunk on the relatively recent advent of gay liberation. As an introduction to the city I took one of the “self-help” workshops popular at the time, a seminar particularly attuned to gay men, where a final exercise involved writing your parents to let them know you’re gay. Because all my interest in theater and disco wasn’t enough. Coming out was framed as an act of the Gay Revolution, a passport to freedom from guilt and stigma.

It sounds good on paper. But like so many things, the reality was bracing. My mother’s response was an award-worthy display of feigned shock. “I had no idea,” she wrote back to me unconvincingly before imploring me not to say anything to my stepfather. And while her apparent ignorance seemed preposterous, her idea of gay men was based on effeminate celebrities she’d seen in movies and on TV, like Charles Nelson Reilly, Paul Lynde and Alan Sues. None of these supporting actors ever actually declared they were gay, they just portrayed quick-witted men who wore jaunty scarves, not handsome enough to seem sexual or masculine enough to be seem threatening.

Elliott goes on to cite the new Tab Hunter documentary, Tab Hunter Confidential. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth the investment.

Read the full article at The Guardian.
Read Reel Charlie’s review of Tab Hunter Confidential.

 

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