British actor Taron Egerton has played gay characters in several roles throughout his career in Hollywood.
In a recent interview for his role in the new movie Tetris, Egerton was asked about his thoughts on straight people playing LGBTQ+ characters.
“I grew up in a very liberal town, and a couple of my close friends are gay. I feel an affinity with that community.”
“I don’t particularly feel that there should be a blanket rule about whether straight actors should play gay roles. That’s very easy for me to say as a straight man, but I think that’s possibly a precedent not worth setting.”
But several gay actors have come forth and taken issue with straight actors playing LGBTQ+ roles. Adam Lambert was vocal on social media in response to a rumor that Theo James might play George Michael, saying:
“Yay another straight man playing a gay icon.”
In an interview, Lambert clarified his statement.
“I think my comment in no way suggests that I feel straight actors can’t play gay roles, because I think they do it really well … there’s Rami [Malek] in Bohemian Rhapsody, Taron [Egerton] in Rocketman, and they were both great."
"And Theo James is a great actor, too! For me, the thing that I was trying to say is: It’s definitely a step in the right direction that these stories are being told, but I would just love to see an out actor play an out icon—it’d just be nice, because you don’t really see it.”
Many people took to social media to voice their own opinions on the matter.
Some people criticized the writing of LGBTQ+ characters rather than the actors playing them.
Many others didn't see an issue with straight actors playing queer roles.
While many people commenting had similar arguments, the only people who can really decide if this is an issue or not are those in the LGBTQ+ community, since it affects them most directly.
If your argument is going to be that acting is acting, then why would it not be okay for an actor to wear black face? The answer is simple: It's racist. We get black actors to play black characters.
If the LGBTQ+ community finds it offensive that straight actors are playing queer roles, then we as a society should be listening to them. If they don't have an issue with it, then we can continue on as we always have.
But at the end of the day, this is a decision for that community to make.