The closet is a controversial place, especially when you’re a celebrity.
On one hand, your sexuality is your business. One of the worst parts of homophobia is the all-access pass people think they get into your personal life. However, in our current political climate, if you’re in the public eye, do you have a responsibility to use the spotlight for change? Hollywood is fairly LGBTQ-friendly, but there is “the glass closet.”
Everyone kind of knows, but no one talks about it. This helps Hollywood sell movies, have leading men and women and make money without worrying about the public’s reactions. That being said, there have been some awkward moments in the history of the glass closet. Bear in mind, this isn’t a witch hunt or gender policing, it’s just moments when reality and the glass closet did not compute or they were computing a little too much and made a mess.
1.) Jodie Foster after “Freaky Friday”
Foster has been working for more then 45 years. However, this role, at her most awkward, feels the most authentic. Teenage Jodie in this classic is tres butch. Of course, she wants her hair a certain way and has a close relationship to her wilted flower bestie. Most of her memorable roles feature the actress sans a male consort: “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Nell” and “Little Man Tate.” She plays a mom a lot, but the kids don’t have fathers. You do the math. She’s a gifted actor and director, but the one thing she can’t fake is chemistry with men.
2.) Neil Patrick Harris in “Clara’s Heart”
NPH can play straight. But watching this him throw shade with a Ja-fakin’ accent is enough to make you question his sexuality for the remainder of his career.
3.) Zachary Quinto between “So Notorious” and “Heroes”
Quinto is also great at playing straight. But there’s something about being in the closet that makes him questionable. One of Quinto’s first roles was in the brief, but genius, Tori Spelling comedy series “So Notorious.” Spelling played a heightened version of herself, and Quinto played her gay Persian bestie. Then he went on to star in “Heroes.” Something about playing straight in real life must have taxed his acting chops. On the show, he didn’t really have chemistry with the ladies, and his murderous rage as Gabriel Grey aka Sylar seemed like it might have been solved with a deep dickin’.
4.) Wentworth Miller after “Popular”
Like with Ms. Foster, Miller’s early speaking role as a guy who wants to be a cheerleader and a bitchy queen was perfect in Ryan Murphy’s Pre-“Glee” series. Was it perhaps true to life? However, afterward it was just sort of weird to see the former model as a straight love interest on “Prison Break.” He’s stunning to look at, that’s for sure, but macking on a lady may be out of his wheelhouse.
5.) Thomas Dekker in “Honey I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show”
Dekker’s acting coach needs a gift basket, stat. The actor is great at butching up and graveling his voice, but his childhood role on this syndicated series shows he has a little sugar in his tank. He hasn’t officially stated his sexuality, but he does give a very convincing twink effect.
6.) John Travolta in “Hairspray”
Amid all the Scientology drama, doesn’t Travolta just look so free and liberated in obese drag? For the first time in history, he can gobble up snack cakes and dick with equal abandon. Tons of straight actors have portrayed drag queens and furthermore nuanced performances of drag queens that are gay men. But for Travolta, Edna Turnblad just feels “normal.”
7.) Queen Latifah in “Set it Off”
Talk-show host, heal thyself. Queen Latifah’s closet door is so clear birds fly into it. Regardless, she still played a full-on bulldagger in this heist movie. Sadly, if only she was as free to be as much of a pussy hound in real life. Hey ladies, at least you know she’s a top.
8.) Jim Parsons in “The Big Bang Theory” Original Pilot
In the original plans for “The Big Bang Theory,” Parsons’ character, Sheldon, is asexual. However, in the original pilot, he was a fan of ladies, specifically big butts. Clearly, it was more believable to imagine Parsons as a unic than a straight man.
9.) Ellen Page & Alexander Skarsgard
Yes, that happened! It’s great that Page is free to be LGBT. She never had issues playing straight, but this coupling was just downright weird. Both actors had buzz going, so it makes sense that Hollywood tastemakers would pair them. However, with him being so tall, 10 years older, and their complete lack of chemistry, it just reads as creepy.
10.) Ellen Degeneres before coming out
Ellen is a genius comedian, amazing talk-show host and halfway-decent dancer. However, she’s not the best actor. She avoided talk of her sexuality throughout her career. The bulk of her standup rarely dealt with romance. But not-out Ellen feels weird. Remember when she hosted the Emmy’s and wore a dress? She was so uncomfortable. Remember her movie career? Of course not, she was in “Mr. Wrong” and was devoid of chemistry with both male leads. Luckily, she has a leading lady for real.
The sad part about the glass closet is it penalizes LGBTQ actors who aren’t scared to be out. Look at Guillermo Diaz who has played gay, straight, and even transgendered (“Stonewall”), but is only well known because he was on “Scandal.” Alan Cumming has shown versatility but doesn’t get much street-cred despite playing a convincing straight man. Hopefully there is a day when people’s sexuality doesn’t matter, and there can be more gay characters who aren’t caricatures, gay actors can play both types of roles, and straight actors don’t look at playing gay as a huge issue.