Irish actor Andrew Scott explains why we should “get rid of the expression openly gay”

Scott made his case after being asked how his career has been impacted by the fact that he is described as “openly gay".

Irish actor Andrew Scott, who said we should stop using the term 'openly gay', at the Golden Globes, in a white suit.
Image: Via X - @BuzzFeedUK

Irish actor Andrew Scott, who recently starred alongside Paul Mescal in the film All of Us Strangers, has made a case for why we should stop using the term “openly gay”.

Famous for roles such as Jim Moriarty in the BBC series Sherlock and the “hot priest” in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, Andrew Scott was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as Adam in the Andrew Haigh-directed film All Of Us Strangers, where he played opposite fellow Irish heartthrob Paul Mescal.

During a recent Actor’s Roundtable organised by The Hollywood Reporter, the Dubliner discussed his experience in the industry with fellow film stars, including Mark Ruffalo, Colman Domingo and Robert Downey Jr. When asked how his career has been impacted by the fact that he is described as “openly gay”, Scott explained why he thinks we should get rid of the expression altogether.

​​“I’m gonna make a pitch for getting rid of the expression openly gay. Hear me out,” he said. “It’s an expression that we actually only ever hear in the media. You’re never at a party and you say ‘this is my openly gay friend’.”

He added: “Why do we put openly in front of that adjective? We don’t say ‘you’re openly Irish.’ You don’t say ‘you’re openly left handed.’ There’s something in it. That’s a little near (the word) shamelessly.

“I’d nearly prefer shamelessly,” the actor went on. “Sometimes I just feel like if you’ve got to say it to understand it just say ‘out’ possibly or, you know what, sometimes don’t say anything at all. I think it’s just time to park it.

“And I think that’s the strange thing… representation is a wonderful thing. But you know, we’re talking an awful lot here about transformation. Representation and transformation. And look, I wouldn’t be here if representation hadn’t improved, but I do think transformation is very important for actors.

“I think there’s a danger of us all actually just being separated a little bit more because I think it’s a dangerous idea to put a clamp on transformation because that shouldn’t be the priority,” Scott added. “The priority should be clamping down on the prejudice within our industry and looking at who gets to transform, not the transformation itself.”


Scott officially came out as gay in a 2013 interview with The Independent. He recently opened up about how his early acting roles gave him the courage and confidence to come out as gay.

He recalled that some of his first acting gigs involved being cast in gay roles, even though he was still closeted at the time. Through these early roles, Scott was introduced to the immense LGBTQ+ community that exists within acting circles. The star reported that this sense of community eventually gave him the courage to come out.

“A lot of people within the industry were queer, so I was surrounded by them and then, bit by bit, started to feel confident,” he said.

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