Kristen Stewart On Actors Playing Gay Face
Kristen Steward is promoting a new project and she recently gave an interview where she discussed her opinions on straight actors playing gay face, and I know it’s just an opinion, but in trying to play it too safe, I think she got it terribly wrong.
Having said that, it’s a slippery slope conversation because that means I could never play another straight character if I’m going to hold everyone to the letter of this particular law. I think it’s such a gray area. There are ways for men to tell women’s stories, or ways for women to tell men’s stories.
The problem is that she’s missing one very important point about this. First, whenever a gay person plays a straight character they are not appropriating any marginalized group. Think about the play Hamilton with an all-black cast. She’s really not getting it. There’s also the fact that most gay people in the entire world have been straight for at least the earliest parts of their lives. They were straight and in the closet. We know what it’s like to be straight first hand. I know I did that for many years. And finally, for me watching a straight actor play gay face is just as bad as watching a white actor play black face. Just because you can do something does not mean you should do it.
I don’t believe there’s much of a gray area. And I do believe gay actors should be able to play straight characters coming from places of straight privilege. Straight is mainstream. It’s not marginalized and it’s not suffering from lack of privilege. Straight rules the entire world. So yes, LGBTQ people can play straight because that’s not the “letter of the law.” There’s also this, too. Let’s get more LGBTQ content out there, and LGBTQ parts out there, so openly gay actors don’t have to play straight anymore. Now that would be a true novelty.
Here’s more. You can read more about the project she’s promoting and it sounds excellent. I’m not slamming her for her opinions. I’m simply disagreeing with her and I’m very curious to see on which side of history this discussion lands eventually. My guess is that we will finally be given enough respect as a marginalized group so that it’s not okay to appropriate us any longer with straight actors and straight writers. That’s something that’s never mentioned. The straight writers who are writing gay content while gay writers get nothing. We…gay writers…truly do sit and wonder, with our eyes wide and our mouths hanging open, what the fuckity-fuck is wrong with this picture?