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Actor Lukas Gage Shut Down Criticism Over Taking Gay Roles & Raises An Important Question

Actor Lukas Gage Shut Down Criticism Over Taking Gay Roles

Actor Lukas Gage Shut Down Criticism Over Taking Gay Roles

“u dont know my alphabet.”

rachelkiley

Actor Lukas Gage is pushing back at the idea that actors need to out themselves in order to play queer roles.

Recently, a Twitter user called out the fact that Gage has played gay characters in multiple projects, writing, “If Hollywood can stop hiring non LGBTQIA+ actors like @lukasgage to play LGBTQIA+ characters, that would be great. He has played 4 so far. 1 was enough.”

Complaints that straight actors are cast in gay or bisexual roles have been increasing on social media platforms like Twitter and Tumblr in recent years, presumably somewhat spawned from the backlash against cisgendered people getting cast to play trans characters.

But the two are not exactly comparable. No question Hollywood does need to take greater action on making sure queer actors (and writers, and directors, and other behind-the-scenes players) are given opportunities, particularly to tell queer stories. However, the idea that actors must be queer to play queer roles opens up a major can of worms — as well-intended as it may be.

Gage drew attention to this with his response: “u dont know my alphabet.” When the Twitter user asked him to label himself, as if to justify his casting, he simply replied: “No.”

That someone should have to out themselves to engage in any meaningful way with the LGBTQ+ community while doing their jobs has already caused problems in the past. For instance, Becky Albertalli, who wrote the popular queer novel Love, Simon, has previously spoken about feeling coerced into publicly coming out as bisexual after facing backlash for writing about queer characters as a “straight author.”

In Gage’s case, his refusal to bow to pressure to either come out as queer or officially label himself as straight just because of casting choices has prompted people online to point out all the problems with such a demand — including the fact that sometimes, people are still figuring themselves out deep into their 30s, 40s, and beyond.

Discrimination against out queer actors in Hollywood is a conversation that we can — and should — have, but in acknowledging that it’s a problem, we also identify exactly why not every actor would want to out themselves to the world purely to justify taking queer roles.

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Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.