Kate Winslet has revealed in a new interview that she knows “at least” four gay Hollywood actors who are “terrified” to come out because they don’t want to be pigeonholed in the industry. The Ammonite actress told the Sunday Times Culture that young queer actors often fear that they’ll no longer be cast in straight roles if they are open about their sexuality, a sad but rather unsurprising reality.
- This stigma affects actors at all stages in their careers. As Winslet explained, coming out isn’t any more difficult for established, big-name actors. “I cannot tell you the number of young actors I know – some well known, some starting out – who are terrified their sexuality will be revealed and that it will stand in the way of their being cast in straight roles,” she explained.
- Sometimes actors are actively encouraged to stay in the closet. Winslet went on to say that sometimes it’s not simply down to the actor why they don’t come out of the closet. Oftentimes, those representing them admit they hide their true selves. She recalled one occasion in which an agent told a young actor not to be open about their preferences. “The agent said: ‘I understand you are bisexual – I wouldn’t publicize that.’ I can think of at least four actors absolutely hiding their sexuality. It’s painful. Because they fear being found out,” she recalled.
- Hollywood is full of “judgment, discrimination, and homophobia,” according to Winslet. Not a shocker but it is infuriating. Winslet’s comments about the reality of the industry come after the release of Ammonite, in which she – a straight (or at least publicly straight) actor plays 19th-century paleontologist Mary Anning, who many believe was a lesbian. While many have questioned the decision to cast a straight actor in a queer role, Winslet says that while much needs to change in terms of casting for these types of roles, if it takes a big-name actor like her fronting a movie telling a queer story, she’s glad she can at least get it made.
- Hopefully things will get better in the future. Progress is being made little by little, but I look forward to the day when this isn’t even a discussion anymore because people are free to love who they love and be who they are without judgment or repercussions.