In an interview with Time Magazine in 2015, Ellen Page said that it is “borderline offensive” when straight people are called brave when they play LGBTQ roles. Many people share her views on that issue, while many others respect but do not agree with her views. What we can all agree on for a fact is that acting is not easy and, just like any other profession out there, it has its challenges that an actor needs to overcome. Anyone who can read a script, get into character and bring the character that is on paper to life, is a great actor deserving the praise that comes with his or her accomplishments.
These days, many movies and series have gay characters in them, but you find that most of the people playing these roles are straight. A fan who has closely followed a particular actor for a period would be shocked to see him or her playing a role that has been inconsistent with what he or she is known for. Apart from the very experienced actors like Johnny Depp who can execute any role flawlessly, most other characters tend to lack a certain convincing aspect when they are too far from their comfort zone.
Therefore, when we, the audience, are introduced to an actor playing a character who is gay, we subconsciously expect that the actor is gay in real life too – especially if the actor appears in a long-running series. However, the above is not usually the case, because actors these days play any role, regardless of the sexual orientation of the character in the script.
Here are 20 characters that audiences think, or have been tempted to assume, are gay, because of how convincing they are in their roles. Whether or not you believe these actors are brave is your opinion, but we can all agree that these and many more out there have something special about them, right?
20. Bridget Regan (Rose Solano in Jane the Virgin)
Fans of Jane the Virgin know Bridget Regan as Rose Solano or Sin Rostro. In the TV series, Bridget is a former lawyer, a stepmother to Luisa and Rafael Solano and she is the master faceless criminal known as Sin Rostro. What would make someone think that Bridget is gay is that she has a secret love affair with her stepdaughter Luisa Solano, and her role as a lesbian hiding her identity and sexual orientation is very convincing. However, in real life, Bridget Regan is actually straight; she and her husband Eamon O’Sullivan, an assistant director, have a daughter together.
19. Patrick Sabongui (Captain David Singh in The Flash)
The Flash is one of the most popular TV series today, based on Barry Allen/The Flash, a DC Comics character, airing on The CW. Although the series focuses more on the action and crime fighting that the Flash and his team do, relationships play an important role in developing the whole story. In the Series, Patrick Sabongui plays the role of a Central City Police Department captain called David Singh. David Singh is gay and has a fiancé named Rob. However, in real life, Patrick Sabongui is straight. He got married to his wife Kyra Zagorsky in 2002, and they have two children.
18. Andrea Parker (Sarah Souders in Red Band Society)
The very first medical drama to focus on patients as opposed to doctors is a teen medical drama called Red Band Society. This TV series aired on FOX from September 2014 to the beginning of 2015. The drama focuses on teenagers living in the pediatric ward of a hospital, going through personal challenges and health complications. In the series, Andrea Parker plays the role of Sarah Souders, mother of one of the teenagers. Sarah Souders is gay, and at times comes to the hospital with her partner to visit their daughter. In real life, Andrea is not gay; she got married to Michael Birnbaum in 2007.
17. Viola Davis (Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder)
Fans of ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder know Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, a university law professor at Middleton University and one of the best defense attorneys in her city. Even though Annalise has so many enemies owing to her profession, she has lovers across both genders. In the second season of How to Get Away with Murder, the introduction of Annalise’s former lover Eve Rothlo makes the audience question whether she is gay or not. These two women have passionate lovemaking scenes that are so convincing that one might think that the two are actually gay in real life, but that is just good acting. Viola Davis has been married to Julius Tennon for over 12 years now and they have three children together.
16. Brendan Fehr (Drew Allister in The Night Shift)
Despite the mixed to average reviews The Night Shift has received from critics, this medical drama series is very popular with the audiences. NBC continues to air this show that is in its third season, a show that focuses on the lives of the night shift staff working at San Antonio Medical Center’s emergency room. Brendan Fehr plays the role of Dr. Drew Allister, a gay character who is an active army medic and who hid his sexual orientation from everyone around him because he did not know how his friends would react. Brendan plays this role so convincingly that hardly would anyone think that he is straight in real life. The truth is that Brendan Fehr married Jennifer Rowley in 2006 and they have three children together.
15. Juan Pablo Raba (Joey Gutierrez in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Any production that has anything to do with Marvel Comics is sure to be a hit, owing to the huge following that Marvel has all over the world. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.D is an ABC fictional, drama, adventure series that is based on the characters in the Marvel Universe. S.H.I.E.L.D stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, an agency of peacekeepers in a world of superheroes. Juan Pablo Raba plays the role of Joey Gutierrez, an inhuman introduced in the third season. The above character is gay, and since Juan Pablo mostly acts in telenovelas, most S.H.I.E.L.D fans just know him as gay. However, Juan Pablo is straight and is married to Mónica Fonseca.
14. Annaleigh Ashford (Betty Dimello in Masters of Sex)
The series Masers of Sex is a drama based on the events that took place between the 1950s and 1960s, telling the story of Masters and Johnson. The series explores the relationship and research that Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson had as they conducted their research on human sexuality in St. Louis, Missouri’s Washington University. The drama, the narrative detours, and the invented characters make the series a very interesting watch. Annaleigh Ashford plays the role of Betty Dimello, a gay character in the series. People who only know her from the show only know her as a gay woman, but in real life, Annaleigh Ashford is married to Joe Tapper.
13. Laura Prepon (Alex Vause in Orange Is the New Black)
To say that Orange is the New Black is popular is a bit of an understatement because this show is by far the most watched Netflix original series to date, with audiences not just in America but also all over the world. The series is based around women inmates in a minimum-security federal prison. Laura Prepon plays the role of protagonist Piper Chapman’s lover, a relationship that has been on and off throughout the three seasons already aired. Since this series is so popular, hardly would anyone think that Laura Prepon is straight. However, the truth is that Prepon is straight in real life.
12. Samantha Mathis (Alice Calvert in Under the Dome)
Under the Dome was a great fictional series that ended in September 2015, depicting the events of people in a small town called Chester’s Mill that were trapped under a huge indestructible alien dome. The people in Chester’s Mill had to find a way to survive despite being cut off from the world outside and there being no way out of the dome. Samantha Mathis plays the role of Dr. Alice Calvert, one of the people trapped under the dome. Dr. Calvert was the mother to Norrie and wife to Carolyn. Although Samantha was a regular in season one, her character died. In real life, Samantha Mathis is straight and was River Phoenix’s last girlfriend before he passed away.
11. Sherri Saum (Lena Adams-Foster in The Fosters)
The Fosters is a family drama series that portrays the lives of a lesbian couple and their multi-ethnic blend of biological, foster, and adopted children. The show is in its fourth season, and despite criticisms about the concept of a lesbian family raising up a family, the show continues to soldier on. Sherri Saum plays the role of Lena Adam-Foster, a vice-principal at Anchor Beach Community Charter School who is bringing up the children together with her wife Stefanie Adams Foster. Although Sherri plays her role as a lesbian in a very convincing way, in real life, she is straight and is married to Kamar de Los Reyes and they have two children.
10. Katrina Law (Nyssa al Ghul in Arrow)
Katrina Law plays the role of Nyssa al Ghul in Arrow; a TV series based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow that airs on The CW. Green Arrow/Oliver Queen is a fictional character; a billionaire playboy who hides behind a mask and uses a bow and arrow to fight corruption and crime in his hometown. Katrina Law appeared in Arrow in season two and has become a recurring character. She started as Sara Lance’s lover. Although her role evolves throughout the series, people might think that she is still gay, especially in real life. However, Katrina Law is far from gay because she is married to Keith Andreen.
9. Jeff Perry (Cyrus Beene in Scandal)
Scandal is one of the most popular political thriller TV series of all time. This series is about the things that happen behind the scenes in the election of President Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III, the scandals that happen throughout his presidency and his extramarital affair with Olivia Pope. Jeff Perry plays the role of the former Whitehouse Chief of Staff, a gay man who would have done anything to protect the president. Jeff is so convincing in his role as a gay man that it is hard to imagine that he is married to Linda Lowy, and they have a child together.
8. Rob James-Collier (Thomas Barrow in Downton Abbey)
Rob James-Collier plays the role of a butler called Thomas Barrow, who most people see as the main antagonist in Downton Abbey. The above historical drama TV series is set in the early 1900s, and it includes major events in history such as the sinking of the Titanic, the First World War, the Spanish Influenza, and many others. Rob James-Collier’s character is gay and he tries to blackmail the Duke of Crowborough, who used to be his lover. Many people think of Rob only in reference to his role as a gay man and would not think that he was actually straight or that he was not as bad as his character portrays him.
7. Alanna Masterson (Tara Chambler in The Walking Dead)
The Walking Dead is a horror drama TV series that that airs on AMC based on a comic series by the same name, showing the everyday events of living survivors of a zombie apocalypse. The zombies are very dangerous, and these survivors have to adapt to living while avoiding them, as well as some very dangerous humans, at all costs. Alanna Masterson plays the role of Tara Chambler, a character who used to appear occasionally but is now part of the main cast. Tara Chambler was the first gay character in this series, a character that she is most famous for. However, in real life, Alanna is straight; she and her boyfriend Brick Stowell have a child together.
6. Antonio Te Maioha (Barca in Spartacus)
Spartacus was a series that was well received by the fans as well as the critics, owing to its intriguing storyline, its graphic content, and overall great acting. The inspiration of the series comes from Spartacus, the historical figure who led a historic slave uprising from 73 to 71 BC in Rome. Antonio Te Maioha plays the role of one of the most successful gladiators who achieved the name “Beast of Carthage.” However, Barca is murdered before the end of the show, after revelations of his sexual orientation. Since people have not seen Antonio Te Maioha so much on TV since then, they might mistake him to be gay in real life. Antonio is straight and he has a wife with whom he lives in New Zealand.
5. Eric Stonestreet (Cameron Tucker in Modern Family)
As fans of Modern Family enjoy laughing through its seventh season, an eighth season will be hitting the screen soon afterward because it was renewed in 3rd March 2016. This series is what is referred to as a mockumentary, because the characters regularly talk directly to the camera. The show was 2012’s 10th highest revenue generating show, earning approximately $2.13 million per episode. Eric Stonestreet plays the role of Cameron Tucker, a gay man in the show. Stonestreet is not gay in real life; in fact, his co-star, who is gay, describes him as openly straight. However, Stonestreet is a supporter of the LGBT community.
4. Heather Morris (Brittany S. Pierce in Glee)
Glee was one of the most successful musical drama series of all time, and its cast, great singing, amazing routines, and how it addressed current social issues made it very popular especially with the young. Heather Morris played the role of a cheerleader called Brittany S. Pierce, who was many strengths including a great singer and dancer. Brittany was a bisexual character who ended up getting married to Santana, her one-time girlfriend when they were in high school together. Heather’s character is so convincing that it is hard to believe that Heather is straight and married to Taylor Hubbell.
3. Thomas Dekker (Zack in Heroes)
Heroes used to air on NBC, depicting the lives of ordinary people who had received superhuman abilities and the drama that revolved around their newfound powers. Thomas Dekker played the role of the fictional character Zack, who started out as gay. The producers changed him to become straight, a situation the audience noticed which led to a mini-controversy. Thomas also went on to play the role of Gregory Valentine, a gay underworld character, in a FOX crime series called Backstrom. The controversy in Heroes and his character in Backstrom would convince anyone that Thomas is gay, but he is straight.
2. Jack Coleman (Bill Forbes in The Vampire Diaries)
The Vampire Diaries is one of the most captivating fantasy-drama series on TV, the seventh season just ended and an eighth on its way. The series features vampires going about their lives, some more powerful than others, and getting into love triangles that tend to be the focus of the series. Jack Coleman played the role of a gay character named Bill Forbes in season three. Jack also played the role of a closet gay husband In Scandal, Vice President Sally Langston’s husband who was killed by his wife for being homosexual. Despite the recurring gay roles, Jack Coleman is straight and is married to Beth Toussaint with whom he has one child.
1. Archie Panjabi (Kalinda Sharma in The Good Wife)
The Good Wife was a legal and political drama series that aired for seven seasons on CBS, with the final episode airing on May 8, 2016. Archie Panjabi plays the role of Kalinda Sharma, a bisexual woman who loves relationships with women more than the way she loves men. Her preference for women results from her perception that women understand her feelings and her needs more than the men do, and they help her win her cases. Her character will obviously make you think that Archie Panjabi is gay or bisexual because she plays the role so well. However, Archie Panjabi is straight and has been married to Rajesh Nihalani since 1998.