Straight people play gay characters all the time but how often does a LGBT+ person play a straight character? We look at 10 of our favourite gay actors who played straight roles for TV and movies.
At the 76th Golden Globe Awards in January, actor Ben Whishaw said: “I would like to see more gay actors playing straight roles. It needs to be an even playing field for everybody that would be my ideal.”
Much like Whishaw, we would love to see more of this. However, there is still thankfully a number of LGBT+ actors who take on straight roles.
Read on as we list 10 actors, who you may not have known were gay, lesbian or bisexual.
Wentworth Miller (Michael Scofield in Prison Break)
You probably know openly gay actor Miller from his straight character Michael Scofield in Prison Break.
The series first aired in 2005, and he came out as gay eight years later in a letter declining an invite to a Russian film festival due to the country’s anti-gay laws.
Jonathan Bennett (Aaron Samuels in Mean Girls)
Bennett, who played the dreamy teen Aaron Samuels in Mean Girls, publicly came out on Instagram in 2017, sharing a picture with the man he loved.
Jodie Foster (Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs)
Foster is famously known for many straight roles such as Agent Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs and Sarah Tobias in The Accused.
The actress came out in 2013 when she accepted the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award.
Zachary Quinto (Sylar in Heroes)
Zachary Quinto, who has played several characters from Sylar in Heroes to Dr. Oliver Thredson in American Horror Story: Asylum, came out in 2011 and has played several straight characters.
T.R. Knight (Dr. George O’Malley in Grey’s Anatomy)
Openly gay actor T.R. Knight is best known for his straight role of Dr. George O’Malley on Grey’s Anatomy in which he had several love affairs with women.
Knight has been married to his same-sex partner, Patrick Leahy, since 2013.
Cynthia Nixon (Miranda Hobbes in Sex and the City)
You will best know Nixon from her loveable character of Miranda on Sex and the City. There, each episode shows the lawyer’s string of relationships with different men.
But in reality, Nixon has been married to her partner, Christine Marinoni, since 2012.
Russell Tovey (George Sands in Being Human)
Openly gay actor Russell Tovey is best known for playing George Sands, a straight werewolf, on Being Human.
He is also known for his lazy character on British sitcom Him & Her, a show about a straight couple.
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Neil Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother)
Best known for his womanising role of Barney Stinson on American sitcom How I Met Your Mother, Harris is gay in real life.
He has been married since 2014 and has two children.
John Barrowman (Desperate Housewives, Arrow and more)
Barrowman is an openly gay actor who is married to husband Scott Gill.
He has played several straight roles and is most famously known for Desperate Housewives and Arrow.
Barrowman came third in the UK hit series I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!.
Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory)
Parsons played the awkward and straight role of Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory.
He married producer Todd Spiewak in 2017.
It’s said he is now producing a new gay TV series.
Of course, there are dozens more excellent gay actors to name but they are our top ten.