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Glee's Darren Criss says he’s 'so culturally queer' here's what that actually means

'Glee's Darren Criss says he’s 'so culturally queer' here's what that actually means

Darren Criss

Darren Criss mayidentify as straight, but he explains he’s also “culturally queer” and frankly we are happy to claim him.

Criss’s character, Blaine Anderson, was beloved by fans from his debut in season two of Glee — and his on-screen romance with Kurt (Chris Colfer) just solidified him as a forever gay favorite. The series was a trailblazer in its time for its inclusion of LGBTQ+ narratives on a mainstream network such as Fox — and it was a role that was profoundly meaningful for Criss. In part, he states that his San Francisco upbringing aided him in understanding the complexity and overall importance of portraying Blaine and his queer relationship with Kurt — as he explained during his appearance at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) over the weekend.

During the panel, Criss was asked about the experience of portraying such a groundbreaking relationship at the time, reportsEntertainment Weekly Criss said, “It was fucking awesome... Nowadays, we just call it a relationship on TV. But to contextualize it, a gay relationship on mainstreamFox, that's a pretty cool thing to be a part of."

"I have been so culturally queer my whole life," he continued. "Not because I'm trying — you know, actually, I was gonna say not because I'm trying to be cool but I'm gonna erase that because I am trying to be cool. The things in my life that I have tried to emulate, learn from, and be inspired by are 100 percent queer as fuck."

While many question the validity or fairness of cis-het actors portraying queer roles, Criss has a more nuanced perspective because as he explains he was able to look through a lens of familiarity, gratitude, and empathy when he took on the role. "I grew up in San Francisco in the '90s. I watched men die. There was an awareness of the gay experience that was not a foreign concept to me. So, it was a narrative that I cared deeply about."

For context, Criss’s character, Blaine, is an openly gay student recognized and respected by his peers at Dalton Academy. There, he meets Culver's character Kurt. Their relationship would go on to blossom into a romance and ultimately they would get the fairytale ending that their fans dreamed of for them — and proved to be eye-opening for some of the audience, too.

"[This story] has value. For anyone who's been an underdog, we all know, in any shape or form — sexual, religious, biological — it has value because there's going to be a lot of people who see that and say, 'Okay, I can now understand this in a context that maybe I wasn't able to before.'

"It was a fucking privilege," he concluded, "and I love talking about it and I'm so grateful I got to do it."

After Criss’s comments, the internet swooned, here’s a few of our favorite responses.

This is a PSA to let you all know that Darren Criss is the most valid of an ally and I love him. 🤍🥺

oliver stark and darren criss caring so deeply about queerness and the queer roles they’ve played is so dear to my heart i want to sob daily 😭🫶🏻

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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