LGBTQ&A host Jeffrey Masters: ‘I’m sick of seeing straight actors in gay roles’
A lack of casting opportunity and authentic roles are creating a culture of closeted LGBT+ actors.
At least, that’s what Jeffrey Masters, host of the hugely popular LGBTQ&A podcast, told PinkNews.
The interview podcast provides a platform for stories across the queer community.
When asked about his favourite interviewees, Masters’ eyes light up.
“I love historical people,” he says, “so Cleve Jones was a favourite to interview.
“He created the AIDS quilt and was instrumental in getting marriage equality passed. Talking to him was outrageous for me.”
Interviewing trans professor and writer Jennifer Finney Boylan was another incredible experience, he adds.
“15 years ago she was on the Oprah Show talking about it, and it introduced to America this nice college professor who wasn’t boring, and reframed trans people in our media as more than just sex workers.
“Her work was pivotal in understanding and talking about trans people in the media.”
Boylan goes to show the effect that giving a platform to queer people can have on changing public perception, he explains.
“I’m a massive fan of podcasts, and before LGBTQ&A, nobody was documenting the LGBT+ community all in one place and not the entire spectrum of the community, either.
Masters’ statements show there is value in LGBT people, not just characters, being represented by media outlets.
Speaking about his admiration of the New York Times podcast Still Processing, Master said: “I particularly like them as after six or so months, they’ve mentioned that they both have same-sex partners.
“I love finding out that people I admire are also queer.”
The cast of the gay romance film, Call Me By Your Name, came under fire earlier this year for not casting gay actors in gay roles.
The director Luis Guadagnino said: “This film is about the blossoming of love and desire, no matter where it comes from and toward what. So I couldn’t have ever thought of casting with any sort of gender agenda.
“I prefer much more never to investigate or label my performers in any way.”
It culminated with heterosexual actor Armie Hammer dramatically leaving Twitter after a BuzzFeed essay labelled him “a beautiful, pedigreed white man” who was afforded opportunities to safely fail and bounce back.
Speaking about this, Masters said: “I’m actually quite sick of seeing straight actors in gay roles.
“Anybody can play any role – that’s not what I’m arguing against.
“What I’m saying is that queer actors are not given the opportunities to act.”
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He continued: “In Hollywood, there’s not many queer actors who are big enough to lead and draw the audiences of a film.
“But that links to a larger problem: we’re not casting queer people.”
To Masters, Ezra Miller, who identifies as queer, is a prime example of a potential queer lead actor in Hollywood.
“In Justice League, sexuality doesn’t play as part of the movie, but I read his performance as a very queer Flash.
“I thought his charm and humour stole the movie.”
Miller was told that he “made a mistake” coming out openly as queer in Hollywood.