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15 Hollywood stars who went ‘gay for pay’ on the big screen

Rosie West November 8, 2016

PinkNews takes a look at the A-list stars who went ‘gay for pay’ on film.

Despite the entertainment industry being arguably one of the most LGBT-friendly around, it’s worrying how few openly gay or lesbian actors actually appear on screen playing queer characters.

However, with gay and lesbian stars still struggling to carve a successful career post coming out, it’s hardly a surprise – especially as so many of their straight counterparts seem only to happy to take up the baton (and the Oscars).

After all, representation is representation… right?

Take a look at just some examples below:

1 Julianne Moore, The Hours/The Kids Are Alright/Freeheld

Moore star as a sexually repressed housewife, lesbian landscape gardner and dying police officer in the hit movies.

2 Sean Penn, Milk

Penn plays gay icon Harvey Milk in the Oscar winning movie, opposite fellow ‘gay for pay’ actor James Franco.

3 Meryl Streep, The Hours

A decidedly lesbian film, with zero lesbian actresses – Meryl also played a gay character in the 2002 film.

4 Tom Hanks, Philadelphia

Hanks plays a gay lawyer who contracts HIV in this hard-hitting, award-winning drama.

5 Cher, Silkwood

One the biggest gay icons of all time played a nuclear plant worker in another Meryl Streep hit.

6 Robin Williams, The Birdcage

The late, great Williams plays the owner of a drag club in this camp cult classic.

7 Whoopi Goldberg, Boys On The Side

The LGBT activist plays a lesbian nightclub owner in the 1995 movie.

8 Will Smith, Six Degrees Of Separation

Smith plays a gay conman in the film.

9 Jada Pinkett Smith, The Women

It seems playing LGBT characters runs in the family…

10 Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain

The actor starred in the Oscar-winning hit alongside fellow straight star Jake Gyllenhaal.

11 Charlize Theron, Monster

Theron also bagged herself a whole heap of awards for her role as

12 Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game/Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Both roles proved a hit for Cumberbatch, who also plays the sexually ambiguous Sherlock Holmes.

13 Glenn Close, Serving In Silence

Close won an Emmy for this 1995 biopic, based on a shocking real-life ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ story.

14 Leonardo DiCaprio, Total Eclipse

Even Leo has played it ‘gay for pay’ – but surprisingly did not win an Oscar.

15 Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Obviously not gay or lesbian, but also depressingly common. Other stars to go ‘trans for pay’ include Felicity Huffman in another Oscar nominee, TransAmerica.

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More: gay for pay, Hollywood, lesbian, LGBT, Trans

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