Should straight actors be cast in LGBTQ+ roles?

An important discussion about the representation of the LGBTQ+ community, should straight actors be considered for these kind of roles

Sarah Tunstall
8th March 2022
Moonlight (2016), Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Carol (2015). Image credit: IMDB
I find this is the everlasting question in film and tv; is it okay that we represent the LGBTQ+ community through straight actors?

I don’t think so. With existing issues in the film industry such as queerbaiting and lack of representation, I feel like casting straight actors to depict our community in films follows the same line of controversy.

Eddie Redmayne famously got backlash for his role in The Danish Girl. Image credit: IMDB

Employing straight actors to tell what are really, our own stories, still feels like a restrained acceptance of LGBTQ+ people. Especially when the conversation opens with 'here’s a film for you guys, something that represents your story'.

It feels like the industry is saying: 'Yes, you can have your own film, but if we use gay actors, that might be a bit too gay for our film company.'

I can sometimes sympathise with the actors themselves. They have really been employed in this role by a company that chose not to use LGBTQ+ members, and now they must make sure they voice a whole community correctly.

But when I sit and watch a supposed “LGBTQ+ film” and know the actor is straight, it feels like a personal mockery

I bet it's anxiety-driven for sure. But when I sit and watch a supposed “LGBTQ+ film” and know the actor is straight, it feels like a personal mockery from them to me, someone who is proudly a part of the LGBTQ+ community. 

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