February 1, 2024

Gay Male Actors Who Play Straight Characters

As an actor, one of the best parts about your job is that you have the opportunity to play people completely different from yourself. That's why some of the most compelling acting on television requires actors to adopt a radically different perspective. For example, one of the most well-known gay male actors is Zachary Quinto, who plays a monster on Heroes and an obnoxious lawyer on American Horror Story. But outside of the spotlight, Quinto's a steadfast supporter of LGBTQ organizations, such as It Gets Better Project and Trevor Project.

Similarly, Lee Pace is known as the older boyfriend of Rachel Sennott's podcaster character on Bodies Bodies Bodies, but he's actually a nonbinary actor who prefers the pronouns they/them. Quintessa Swindell is another example of a nonbinary actor who's used their talents to play straight characters in movies and TV shows, most recently on Trinkets as Tabitha Foster, an obnoxious kleptomaniac on the hit Netflix show.

In fact, there's a long history of straight actors playing gay characters. Hilary Swank won an Oscar for her performance as transgender man Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry, while Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger both won Academy Awards for their roles as gay cowboys Ennis and Jack in Brokeback Mountain. Cahrlize Theron got an Oscar for her role as bisexual serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, and Julianne Moore and Annette Bening both won Golden Globes for their work as a middle-aged lesbian couple in The Kids Are All Right.

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