Over the weekwend I commented on my personal blog (as did many other LGBT bloggers) about Richard Chamberlain's advice to gay actors that they should stay in the closet in order to protect their careers. Chamberlain's advice may sound practical, but it highlights what many - including myself - see as a double standard.
Movers and shakers in Hollywood have been great advocates for repeal of DADT, the overturning of Proposition 8 and gay equality in general, yet the Hollywood establishment allows a different standard for itself compared to what so many of its stars demand of the military and the public at larger. What makes the situation all the more disturbing is that some of those in Hollywood who are holding the closet door shut are gays themselves.
Are these advocates of the closet worried solely about box office revenues or is something else going on such as latent self-doubt and/or internalized homophobia? It's a question that needs to be asked.
Granted, there are few out major male stars, but coming out seems to have done nothing to harm the career of Neil Patrick Harris for example - who routinely plays a straight character. So what gives? Greg Gutfeld at Big Hollywood takes on the issue as does my friend Lyndon Evans at Focus on the Rainbow and as a community we need to ask Hollywood why it should not meet the same standards we have demanded of the U.S. military and other institutions.
First, this from Gutfeld:
Chamberlain's advice comes at a perfect time for people like me who need to write stuff: just days after the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. How hilarious is it that, as the military now dumps that strategy, a Hollywood icon is imploring actors to embrace it!
Anyway, I wonder why we don't demand from Hollywood, what Hollywood demands from the military. I have absolutely no data to back this up, but I bet the percentage of gays employed in film exceeds those in foxholes. Which is why homophobia seems worse in Tinseltown. The fact is, the troops can handle gays; Hollywood can't.
Evans, a former broadcast newscaster in a prior career before he discovered the world of blogging, gives the issue a far more detailed analysis and even points fingers at some of gay Hollywood and asks some pointed questions. Here are some highlights:
While theater goers embrace actors and actresses who are openly gay and lesbian particularly on The Great White Way not so can be said of movie and television audiences, or so many in Hollywood would say. For the second time in as many years advice was given to actors and actresses, wannabees or actual, to stay in the closet as it can only hurt your career.
This of course is the shameful irony of Hollywood which for decades has been a champion through its films for the mistreated, discriminated against and persecuted. The idea that those in power who have the luxury to be out prefer the actors and actresses who without which there would be no movie, are told to lie, not be true to themselves and stay closeted until such time that every nickel and dime has been squeezed out of their performing years.
For all of the more read bloggers who are and write about LGBT injustice, I think I am one of the very few who has, and will continue to write about discrimination in Hollywood against gays, lesbians and bisexuals, not from the heterosexual powers that be, which of course is to be expected, but the ones who would have their own brethren stay in the closet forever.
If the audience knows the guy is gay, apparently it will kill the fantasy and no one will want to buy tickets. We hear it time and time again from the Hollywood power players and creative folks - both gay and straight - and we heard it again over the weekend at theOutfest Film Festival during a panel called Coming Out in Hollywood.
But it's hard to change things when an openly gay writer-director such as Don Roos (The Opposite of Sex, Bounce, Happy Endings) has issues with gays playing straight and vice versa.
At Outfest on Sunday afternoon, three-time Emmy winning and openly gay director Todd Holland told a small audience that he advises young, gay male actors to "stay in the closet." The remark came during a panel at the Directors Guild of America titled, "Taking It to the Streets: LGBT Directors Get Political." Outfest, which pushes the slogan "protecting our past, showcasing our present, nurturing our future," is one of the premiere gay and lesbian film festivals in the United States.
Holland, who was talking as one of the featured panelists, and who once worked as a director on the critically acclaimed HBO sit-com The Larry Sanders Show, explained that it's a necessary career choice if a gay actor wants to succeed in Hollywood. Fellow panelist and filmmaker Kirby Dick, director of Outrage, a 2009 documentary about gay politicians who stay in the closet to further their political careers, told Holland: "I know where you're coming from, but it's a regressive argument."
Those LGBT bloggers who are so quick to throw Obama under the bus and the activists who protest about DADT, if they would rally behind the discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals in Hollywood, then maybe, just maybe change would come.
Evans' last comment is not directed at me in particular, but he does have a point and many of us in the blogosphere need to start asking hard questions of Hollywood. The double standard needs to vanish.