Dustin Lance Black Slams Closeted Actors and Their Agents

Dustin Lance Black
Tracy E. Gilchrist

Out Oscar-winning screenwriter for Milk, Dustin Lance Black, lashes out against Hollywood’s “glass closet” in a new interview with Attitude. Black, whose next project When We Rise, about the history of the LGBT movement, has been out and proud for as long as he’s been famous.

Prior to winning the Academy Award for the 2008 film Milk, about assassinated San Francisco politician Harvey Milk, Black wrote for the HBO series Big Love. But his emotional Oscar speech, which came on the heels of California’s hateful anti-same-sex marriage measure Prop 8 being passed, placed Black at the center of visibility for rights for LGBT people. 

All of that said, if anyone has room to call out closeted actors, it’s Black. “I have no respect for someone who lies about their sexuality,” Black told Attitude. At the very least say ‘no comment,’ just keep your personal life personal. If you’re going to closet yourself, that sends a negative message.”

Black, 42, who’s engaged to British Olympic bronze medal winner Tom Daley, added that he’s not experienced homophobia from studios, but rather, he believes it’s the actors' agents and managers (who essentially work on commission) who push for them to remain closeted. 

“…they’re the ones who have an outdated notion of the price an actor might pay if it’s discovered that they’re LGBTQ,” Black said about agents and managers. 
“Often they don’t want to see anything happen that might compromise their investment. I think they cripple their actors because they stunt the star’s ability to be open and honest, and an audience can feel that.”

With the incoming Trump/Pence administration and the cadre of hateful anti-LGBT people who’ve been asked to join the cabinet, let’s hope more actors follow in Black’s footsteps since visibility matters as much as ever. 



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