Representation matters both on and off the silver screen. A little louder for the people in the back: representation matters! With Hollywood’s audience in demand that they see actors reflecting the characters they play, here are 15 times the movies got it right and had LGBTQ+ actors play LGBTQ+ characters.
Keiynan Lonsdale in Love, Simon
In 2018, Lonsdale had a breakout role playing Bram Greenfield in Love, Simon, the first rom-com to feature a gay protagonist. In 2017, Lonsdale came out publicly in an Instagram post.
Tessa Thompson in Thor: Ragnorok
While it is never confirmed that Thompson’s character, Valkyrie, is bisexual, director Taika Watiti ultimately had to cut the scene of Valkyrie leaving another woman’s bedroom. Thompson confirmed that her character will be openly queer in the next movie, Thor: Love and Thunder. Thompson herself identifies as queer.
Lucas Hedges in Boy Erased
Hedges played real-life gay writer, Jared Eamons, in 2018’s Boy Erased. Hedges himself identifies on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Troye Sivan in Boy Erased
Gay singer, Troye Sivan, played Gary, a gay boy forced to go to a conversion camp in the 2018 drama, Boy Erased.
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in Tangerine
In 2015’s Tangerine, Rodriguez, who is a trans woman, played Sin-Dee, a trans sex worker. It was the actress’ first film role, and she received a 2016 Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead.
Kate McKinnon in Bombshell
McKinnon played fictionalised closeted-lesbian and closeted-liberal, Jess Carr, in the 2019 drama, Bombshell. McKinnon has spoken publicly about her sexuality and LGBTQ+ representation.
Lena Waithe in Onward
Waithe voiced the first openly LGBTQ+ animated character in a Disney Pixar film, a cyclops police officer named Officer Specter. Waithe herself is openly gay.
Jonathan Groff in Looking
Groff, known from Frozen, Hamilton, and Mind-Hunter played Patrick in the HBO series Looking, which followed the lives and friendships of three gay men living in San Francisco.
Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters
McKellen who has been open about his sexuality since 1988, had the opportunity to portray gay director, James Whale, in this 1998 biographical drama.
Daniela Vega in A Fantastic Woman
Breakout actress Vega led the 2018 Chilean drama A Fantastic Woman, which won best foreign-language film at the 2018 Oscars. Vega and her character, Marina Vidal are both trans women.
Rupert Everett in My Best Friend’s Wedding
When Everett played openly gay man George Downes in the 1997 comedy My Best Friend’s Wedding, gay actors playing queer characters was still a very rare thing in Hollywood.
Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body
The 2009 cult horror-comedy classic centres around Jennifer, who is characterised as bisexual, and has a charged, co-dependent relationship with her shy best friend, Needy. Fox also identifies as bisexual.
Clea DuVall in But I’m a Cheerleader
DuVall’s character, Megan, a naive, all-American cheerleader who’s sent to conversion camp. DuVall has long played openly gay characters, recently on The Handmaid’s Tale and in her 2016 film The Intervention.
Andrew Scott in Pride
Known from Sherlock and Fleabag, Scott, a gay actor, plays gay bookshop owner Gethin, who joins several other queer activists to help striking miners in conservative 1984 England.
Kiersey Clemons in Hearts Beat Loud
Queer actress Clemons plays, Sam Fisher, a queer musician, who, with her father forms an unexpectedly popular band during the summer before she leaves for college. Clemons had her breakout role playing a teen lesbian in 2015’s Dope.
There you have it, folks! 15 LGBTQ+ characters played by LGBTQ+ actors that give new meaning to the term representation.
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