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Michael Henry Breaks Down the Debate About Straight Actors Playing Gay

Michael Henry Breaks Down the Debate About Straight Actors Playing Gay

Michael Henry Breaks Down the Debate About Straight Actors Playing Gay

The comedian's new YouTube video hilariously outlines the contentious debate about straight actors getting to play LGBTQ+ roles.

byraffy

In his latest sketch video, comedian and YouTuber Michael Henry perfecly (and hilariously) outlines all the reasons why it's important for LGBTQ+ actors to be able to play LGBTQ+ roles in TV shows and movies. 

After two of his straight buddies confront Michael about why they haven't been featured in any of his recent YouTube videos, he tells them he hasn't had any ideas about straight people lately. When the two suggest that they can "play gay," Michael tells them that idea doesn't sit right with him, unleashing an onslaught of questions about the ongoing debate on straight actors taking on queer roles. 

"A wise person one said, 'I should be able to play any person, or any tree, or any animal,'" one of his friends says in a shady reference to Scarlett Johannson.

"Exactly, any actor should be able to play any role they want, that's the actor's job," his other friend chimes in. 

And that's when Michael drops some truth bombs.

"When you cast straight actors to play gay roles, it shapes the way we think about gay people," he says. "They're either acting like their straight selves, which makes young gay people or people who have never met a gay person before think that's how gay people are supposed to look or behave. Or, they're playing the role like a caricature, which is not good either."

He then goes on to mention the fact that while any actor being able to play any role sounds good in theory, the fact of the matter is queer actors are often only limited to roles that match their identity, and when they have to compete for those roles with their straight counterparts, who aren't limited at all, the competition for an acting job becomes very, very unfair.

"At the end of the day, the playing field needs to be evened out a little bit. I would love for us all to be able to play whatever roles that we want to play, but straight people have been gay, trans, and queer roles for a really long time. Let us play ourselves for a little bit, collect some coins, and then, in about ten years or so, we can talk about Armie Hammer playing me in a biopic." 

Watch it all go down in the video below! And subscribe to Michael Henry's YouTube channel for more! 

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Raffy Ermac

Digital Director, Out.com

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel