How many LGBTQ actors do you know? There are those actors and actresses that we know for a fact are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or queer. Then there are the celebs that we suspect of being LGBTQ, but we aren’t sure, and the celeb isn’t confirming or denying it. There are also examples in which celebs will be asked if they are LGBTQ, they will deny it, and then months or even years later, they will admit that yes, they are in fact LGBTQ. Now we know about Neil Patrick Harris, who is perhaps the most successful gay actor that is around right now. Other famous gay actors who are doing quite well for themselves include Jane Lynch, Jim Parsons, and Sarah Paulson. Yet there is still a lot more work for Hollywood, because LGBTQ rights are not always recognized by producers and directors. To prove our point, we have compiled a list of 15 LGBTQ Actors Hollywood Refuses to Use.
As you read through this list, think about how you personally feel about LGBTQ rights and equality. Even if you disagree with gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, or queers, do you really have to spread hate towards them? Why can’t people agree to disagree and just leave it at that? We need more tolerance and acceptance in the world, because at the end of the day, we are all human beings. We all have feelings, hopes, fears, and families that we go home to at the end of the day. Don’t hate, appreciate!
15. Cheyenne Jackson
Cheyenne Jackson is one actor that some Hollywood directors have denied, all on the basis of the actor’s sexual orientation. Jackson has been openly gay for quite a while, and he had been in same-sex relationships since at least the year 2000. He got his start in theatre, which may be a dramatic medium that is more well-suited to gay actors. Jackson then moved to films and he had a regular role on the hit TV show 30 Rock. One place where Jackson has likely felt more welcomed is on the set of American Horror Story, on which he plays the role of Will Drake. Will Drake is a gay character, and how refreshing is it to have a gay character portrayed by an actual gay actor? That might be because Lady Gaga is a force of influence on American Horror Story, and she is very pro-LGBTQ rights. Anyway, throughout the years, Jackson has had his fair share of sexual discrimination.
14. Wentworth Miller
An advocate for mental health awareness and LGBTQ rights, Wentworth Miller is one actor that we do not see nearly enough of. The actor starred in Prison Break, which was a huge boon to his career, and he is set to star in the TV series for 2017. That role is one that Wentworth Miller is going to want to cling to, because directors have noticed his shortcomings. In 2016, Miller posted an extremely deep and heartfelt text about how he had been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts since he was a young teenager. He wasn’t seen in the public eye for a while, but then he achieved a breakthrough with Prison Break. In 2007, Miller denied allegations that he was gay, but about six years later, he officially came out of the closet. He used that news to bash Russia’s treatment of gays, and who wants to hire a political celeb?
13. Matt Bomer
He has starred in films such as Magic Mike as well as TV hits like American Horror Story, White Collar, and Chuck. Things seem pretty awesome for 38-year-old actor Matt Bomer, but all is not as it seems. It turns out that he is a prime example of the gay actor who seems to have it all, yet still experiences the totem pole effect of Hollywood hiring. In 2011, Matt Bomer married Simon Halls, and then it became super real that he was an openly gay actor. While Bomer has starred in some really successful Hollywood productions, he has had trouble clinching a leading role. Take The Nice Guys, which featured Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as the leads. Likewise, in the Magic Mike film series, Bomer played a secondary character, while Channing Tatum got the shining moments. Things may be improving with the American Horror Story TV series. Bomer has managed to elevate his character’s status to a series regular, which may help him become the next Neil Patrick Harris.
12. Alan Cumming
51-year-old actor Alan Cumming is well-known in stage and screen productions. And yet he is another LGTBQ actor who experiences difficulty in finding consistent and compelling work in Hollywood. Cumming came out as a bisexual man and began fully supporting marriage equality and LGBTQ rights. He is an activist alongside his husband Grant Shaffer. Cumming’s previous marriage was to a woman, Hilary Lyon. Besides not having kids because his life is too hectic (and it’s difficult for same-sex couples), Cumming also finds it hard to maintain a regular workflow without dealing with discrimination against the LGBTQ community and its famous supporters. Despite this pressure and the dismissals he receives from some Hollywood directors and producers (you know who you are), Cumming continues to pursue his passion and achieve success with his acting skills. He also received the Vito Russo Award from GLAAD in 2005 and the Humanitarian Award from the Human Rights Campaign.
11. Lance Bass
Former NSYNC singer Lance Bass gets a tough break in Hollywood. He was known as the boy band member with the baby face, but when it was revealed that he was gay, there were so many disappointed girls in the world. Bass tried to transition to acting, starring in cameos on 7th Heaven and Zoolander, and snagging a leading role in the film On The Line. But then Bass came out of the closet in July of 2006, in an article for People magazine. The following year, he penned an autobiography called Out of Sync. While he was awarded the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award, people were upset that Bass had been pretending to be attracted to girls (he had even dated women). His love songs to women and the whole premise of On The Line led people to believe he was hetereosexual. His gay admission reportedly hurt his career and now he can barely manage a D-list hosting job.
10. Ian McKellen
Actor Ian McKellen is an interesting case. He is hated by some people in Hollywood because he is a very outspoken atheist, and he is known to tear apart the pages of Bibles. McKellen is also an openly gay actor and he ended up accidentally outing one of his co-stars, oops! As for himself, McKellen has had many successful film roles, such as Gandalf the wizard in the Lord of the Rings movie franchise. Yet, some critics point out that McKellen was cast in a non-human role because of his sexual orientation. For the record, McKellen’s character does not remain constant throughout the Lord of the Rings, which supports the critics’ claims. McKellen came out of the closet back in 1988 and he is a huge proponent of equality and gay rights. Now he spends more time campaigning and being an activist rather than acting. Does he prefer it that way? Who knows.
9. Richard Chamberlain
Iconic actor Richard Chamberlain may not be someone you would expect to see on this list, but he himself had things to say about coming out in Hollywood. Chamberlain was known for roles such as Dr. James Kildare in the TV series Dr. Kildare. Chamberlain understands the reality that befalls gay actors who decide to come out of the closet. He stated that when he came out, he noticed that he was treated differently, and he can still experience that today to some extent. Chamberlain had been involved in same-sex relationships throughout the 1970s. A French magazine, Nous Deux, wrote an expose about Chamberlain back in 1989, but the actor never confirmed that he was gay. It was actually over a decade before Chamberlain stated publicly that he was gay. This was in 2003, and the admission was made in his autobiography, Shattered Love. Speaking to other gay actors out there, Chamberlain said that he wouldn’t recommend coming out.
8. Ellen DeGeneres
Yes, we know that Ellen DeGeneres has had a successful daytime talk show for years now. Yet she was not immune to the discrimination and hate hurled her way when she revealed that she was a lesbian. DeGeneres came out way back in 1997, and during that time she was starring on the sitcom Ellen. Of all places, DeGeneres came out of the closet while sitting on Oprah’s couch on The Oprah Winfrey Show. After the reveal of her sexuality and orientation, Degeneres’ professional acting career slowed down a lot and Degeneres even experienced some depression from the whole ordeal. There was also, of course, that super high-profile same-sex relationship with celebrity Anne Heche. Degeneres and Heche were extremely close and their breakup was a public tragedy that had all of the tabloids buzzing. That was another thing to factor into Degeneres’ depression. Fortunately she found love and lasting success with her talk show.
7. Paul Reubens
Oh, Paul Reubens; he’s a bit of an anomaly, no? The thing is, people are not sure if he is gay or not, but many people suspect that he is, and that is one of the reasons why Hollywood directors are choosing to just stay away. There are plenty of other reasons why Pee Wee Herman isn’t getting any acting roles. He was arrested for masturbating in a movie theater, he was charged later with pornography charges (he was in possession of Rob Lowe’s sex tape), and he’s in his 60s now, so most people merely consider him a washed-out celebrity. Yet the drama does not end there. The real criticism against Reubens is that he has not opened up about his sexuality or private relationships, and that bothers some people in the LGBTQ community. Pee Wee Herman is an extremely popular and well-known TV character. Having all of that influence, many LGTBQ advocates say that Reubens should be honest about his sexuality.
6. Rupert Everett
This actor is perhaps one of the most outspoken in Hollywood about the current situation that faces openly gay actors. Rupert Everett claims that ever since he came out as a gay man, his Hollywood acting career pretty much got destroyed. Everett is also very upset that big name directors prefers to cast straight actors in the roles of gay characters, such as Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain. Another one of Everett’s criticisms of Hollywood was that it tries to portray itself as liberal, but it is actually an extremely conservative and closed-minded world. According to Everett, who has personal experience in the industry, there is a sort of hierarchy among actors, and the straight ones get the best roles and offers first. Gay actors are on the lower end of the totem pole and often have to settle for whatever comes their way. Jared Leto has also discussed this reality for openly gay celebrities.
5. Sara Gilbert
Wow, Sara Gilbert is 41 years old now. Remember when she was playing the teenage Darlene, daughter to Roseanne Barr on the hit sitcom Roseanne? That was a long time ago! Gilbert’s career has been on a downslide since that show, and Darlene was the most successful character she has ever played. While she did make some guest appearances on sitcoms and TV dramas of the past, Gilbert never realized the same success she had with Roseanne. Perhaps her only truly prolific film role was in Riding In Cars With Boys from 2001. And then The Talk happened, and that has been Gilbert’s niche for the past few years. It seems that she has given up on the real Hollywood roles, and she seems to be content with her daytime talk show status. If that’s cool with her, then it’s cool with us. It’s not like she’s not making money from it; she is an executive producer after all.
4. Anne Heche
You may argue that Anne Heche is now 47 years old, and that is the reason why she isn’t getting any acting roles anymore. Yet if you think about it, there are plenty of other actors and actresses in Hollywood who are even older than Heche and are still snagging pivotal gigs. Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Jennifer Garner…these celebrities are middle-aged and yet they are still alive and kicking butt in Hollywood. So what happened with Heche? She claims that ever since she fully embraced her sexuality and was no longer afraid of promoting it, Hollywood producers and directors starting to hand out fewer and fewer acting roles. The 2010s have seen her struggling to clinch highly successful or big-name movie roles, and her TV gigs were also drying up. Most of Heche’s fame nowadays comes from her status as the ex-girlfriend of Ellen DeGeneres (they had a very high-profile relationship).
3. Ellen Page
Okay, so it’s not that Ellen Page can’t get any work in Hollywood. Rather, the young Canadian actress says that she is no longer being considered for character roles that portray straight women. Page came out to the public on Valentine’s Day in 2014 while she was speaking at the Human Rights Campaign conference. The title of the conference was very fitting for her speech: “Time to Thrive.” Page stated that she wasn’t able to fully support LGBTQ rights and equality if she herself wasn’t being true to herself. So she told the world that she was a lesbian and she was supported by legions of fans. Even so, nowadays, you might notice that most of Page’s acting roles involve queer storylines and characters. She just can’t manage to snag any roles in mainstream movies anymore. That is a shame because we know how awesome an actress she is. She blew the world away in Juno, opposite Michael Cera.
2. Sean Hayes
Sean Hayes is an openly gay actor that you might recognize from the sitcom Will and Grace, on which he played the fitting character of Jack. Yet when he tried to work on the Broadway production Promises, Promises, Hayes received scathing reviews because apparently his “gayness” was coming out too much. The directors and producers were disappointed and didn’t think that Hayes was portraying a believable straight man. Hayes came out back in 2013, and earlier this year he made a public apology to the LGTBQ community. According to the Huffington Post, Hayes said told the LGBTQ community that he should have revealed his sexuality and orientation much earlier than 2013. After all, he had known that he was gay for much longer and he had just kept it a secret from everyone. Now Hayes is married to Scott Icenogle and has also been interviewed by iconic LGTBQ magazine The Advocate.
1. Michael Urie
The 36-year-old actor seemed to be doing quite well for himself back in the days of Ugly Betty. That sitcom was a huge hit and helped America Ferrera become a household name, and Michael Urieget his foot in the door to Hollywood. So, what happened to Urie after Ugly Betty was wrapped up? Well, he made a cameo appearance on Modern Family (which is a very gay-friendly TV show), and he also starred in the sappy film Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Not very impressive for an actor who had previously been on such a pivotal productions such as Ugly Betty. As for his 2016 projects, Urie has made another cameo appearance on a TV show, this time on Younger, in which he played Redmond. He came out to The Advocate, a pro-LGBTQ magazine in 2010. He stated that he was gay and in a relationship with another man. And now he can’t find a good job in Hollywood.