Drag Race firebrand Willam is sick of straight men playing gay roles: ‘F**k our drag’
RuPaul’s Drag Race provocateur-in-chief Willam has waded into the ever-lasting debate over whether queer roles should only be played by queer people.
Willam shared her thoughts on an Instagram post about Happy Valley actor James Norton playing queer character Jude in the upcoming stage adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s critically-acclaimed novel A Little Life.
“Oh good, another straight guy telling gay stories. F**k our drag,” Willam commented on the post.
After someone responded to Jonbers asking “another what”, Willam added: “Another straight dude playing gay cuz straight actors with names get dibs on the gay roles over actual gay people so often.
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“Did everyone catch Eddie Redmayne in Cabaret? A gay shoulda and coulda played that, but they went: NAME.”
The question of whether LGBTQ+ characters should be played by LGBTQ+ people has been explored endlessly over the past few years.
While LGBTQ+ representation on-screen is undoubtedly improving, many fans of queer media argue that it’s also important that representation extends to behind the scenes.
Blanchett was nominated for Best Actress at this year’s Oscars for her role as lesbian conductor Lydia Tár in Tár, as well as playing a lesbian in 2015 film Carol.
Earlier this year, she said she doesn’t “think about [her] gender or [her] sexuality” when choosing her roles, and that she doesn’t understand the “obsession with labels”.
Brendan Fraser, meanwhile, has inadvertently made a case for LGBTQ+ actors playing LGBTQ+ roles, after he said the sexuality of his character Charlie in The Whale was “immaterial”.
Fans of the film were quick to note that Charlie’s sexuality is inherent to the plot, and an LGBTQ+ actor may have been more likely to understand why.
Some LGBTQ+ actors though, like Lord of the Rings legend Ian McKellan, have defended straight people playing gay roles.
Speaking about Clive Owen’s performance as Max in the devastating Holocaust film Bent, McKellan said: “Nothing wrong with that performance. For those of you who think only gay people should be allowed to play gay parts.”
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