elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

Do closeted actors smell our desperation? A response

Last week Steve Callahan and Matthew Montgomery did a wonderful video to support Trailblazer Campaign sponsored by James Duke Mason on Youtube:



it's a nice video, simple and effective, and full of hope for a better future. So it's with a deep sadness that I read how that same video was pointed out in a very hurtful way on the Queerty's website:

http://www.queerty.com/can-closet-actors-smell-our-desperation-20110603/

I gave my opinion on this matter (I don't like mystery, and sincerely I don't care for this type of mystery at all: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1300386.html), but I wanted also to share and have more opinionated comments on the same. I have many friends in the community, and some of them related to the movie industry field. I'm glad the response was immediate and sincere, and I'm glad to share that with you:
Do closeted actors smell our desperation? I'd much rather they smell our desperation than the stench of self loathing. This Trailblazer campaign is affirming; maybe didactic, but not desperate. Desperate is a person who will hide who they authentically are in order to be popular. The closet only exists if we allow it to - and as long as any of us allow it to persist, all of us are subject to its discrimination. What's wrong with a campaign urging people to live more authentic lives? This article was written by and for those who identify with the oppressor. Actors should remain "ambiguous" to appeal to a wider audience? It's the very Stockholm Syndrome that has too many of our community writing "straight-acting only" on their profiles, shunning drag queens and only watching gay films when the roles are portrayed by certifiably straight actors. That's self-loathing and it stinks. --Jesse Archer
(Jesse Archer is an award-winning writer, actor, and rabblerouser. Since graduating from the University of Southern California, Jesse traveled the world before landing in the East Village of New York City. He has appeared in the Off-Broadway hit Birdy's Bachelorette Party and on film in Boy Culture. Jesse also stars in gay romantic comedy favorites Slutty Summer and A Four Letter Word (which he co-wrote with director Casper Andreas). In 2010 he produced, co-starred, and scripted the hit comedy Violet Tendencies. His latest, Half-Share, set on legendary Fire Island is due out mid-2011. Jesse has penned features and pithy, promotional copy for various websites and print zines. He also wrote a popular column on urban gay life for OUT magazine. His first book, "You Can Run", was based on the two intrepid years he spent traveling through South America and was published by Haworth Press in 2007. Jesse grew up in Oregon. He has since lived and worked in Los Angeles, Paris, Buenos Aires, Capetown, and New York City. He enjoys long distance running, gummi bears, and impromptu cartwheels. Jesse currently resides in Sydney, Australia.)
SO sick of the post-gay articles on this site (which is called QUEERTY!). Why question the validity of public figures being out? It’s not desperation, it’s liberation, and it’s good for them (it’s their choice, they’re in the videos) and good for others to see more gay faces.

More mystery is never, EVER going to happen. So why not root for an equal amount of openness, gay or straight or bi? --Matthew Rettenmund
(Matthew Rettenmund is the author of the novels Boy Culture and Blind Items: A (Love) Story, as well as the non-fiction books Encyclopedia Madonnica, Totally Awesome '80s, and Hilary Duff: All Access. He is currently the Editor in Chief of Popstar! Magazine. He grew up in Flushing, Michigan and after he graduated from the University of Chicago, he moved to New York City, where he still lives. His novel Boy Culture was adapted into an award-winning movie in 2006.)
Kudos to Steve and Matt, and congrats on your pending nuptials! For years, I was a closeted actor trying to make a living in New York City. Once I embraced my sexuality and CHOSE to seek-out gay roles, I thought things would get easier and I would start working more. They didn’t – and I didn’t. But none of this, I firmly believe, was MY fault or had anything to do with MY acting ability.

I blame my lack of “success” on other GLBT individuals working in the entertainment industry. For example, my openly gay agent who advised me to NOT be open about my sexuality when going on auditions or working on set. Or the openly gay casting director who wouldn’t even grant me an audition for a production of a well-known gay-themed play (currently revived on Broadway), and then went so far as to cast all but ONE of the play’s gay roles with straight actors – which I was later told by a (straight) friend who appeared in the play that the gay playwright “loved it” that this happened.

In my opinion, this is yet another case of self-loathing gays getting off on having the so-called power. Why help out your gay brethren when you can get the approval that you never received while growing up from the straight guys? So many people have a problem with “obviously” gay actors being cast as straight (Jonathan Groff in GLEE, as that reporter from Vanity Fair recently pointed out)… But why doesn’t anyone seem to mind when, say, obviously straight Bobby Cannavale, is cast to play Will’s gay b/f on WILL & GRACE? Because Bobby Cannavale is totally hot! By which I mean: “masculine.” Which is what this all comes down to…

The fear for most closeted gay actors, I think, (apart from their not getting work) is that they will be perceived as being “less than a man.” This is why it’s important for someone “important” to come out and prove this theory wrong. Steve and Matt and both fine examples… Now where are the others?

Just commenting on this topic makes me happy that I am no longer pursuing an acting career. I can’t imagine being a closeted writer… What would be the point? --Frank Anthony Polito
(Frank Anthony Polito is a Brooklyn-based author and playwright. He can be seen in the films One True Thing with Meryl Streep and Renee Zellweger, Hitch with Will Smith, and The Peacemaker with George Clooney. On TV he has appeared on Spin City, The Sopranos and One Life to Live. On stage he has worked off-Broadway at Primary Stages and Revelation Theater and played the role of James in the Washington, D.C. premiere of Corpus Christi by Terrence McNally. Frank's first play, JOHN R, was produced in New York City in 2001 and is the basis for BAND FAGS!. His following novel, DRAMA QUEERS!, is a Lambda Award-winning book as “Best Gay Romance” in 2009. Other plays have been seen at the New York International Fringe Festival, Bailiwick Repertory Theatre in Chicago, Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, VA, and at The Dayton Playhouse in Dayton, OH. His teleplay, Blind Faith, was a finalist for the Alfred P. Sloan teleplay competition at Carnegie Mellon University where he received his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing in 2006. Frank grew up in the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park, near 10 Mile and John R. He began playing trumpet in 6th grade (but later switched to French horn) and is proud to have been a Band Fag.)
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