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Hetero men get an Oscar when they play a homosexual. Those who, on the other hand, outs as gay, must fear for his career. How can that be?

Homosexuality in film: The Gay hero, the last taboo

Hetero men get an Oscar when they play a homosexual. Those who, on the other hand, outs as gay, must fear for his career. How can that be?

Homosexuality in film: The Gay hero, the last taboo
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  • Page 1 — The gay hero, last taboo
  • Page 2 — only minority stigma is visible
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    Thomas Hitzlsperger, who had been coming out after his career as a football player, commented on ARD's World Cup games. In fact. Homosexual talk masters, athletes and politicians – in our media society it seems to be no longer a problem to be openly gay or lesbian. But it took time: this year in Berlin, Christopher Street Day, annual parade for gay pride and lesbian visibility, is celebrated for 40. The past decades have been told as a progress story, and for many success of lesbian and gay movement is best proof that staid Germany has also become an open society.

    However, story of actor and presenter Jochen Schropp shows that this beautiful narrative of liberation and emancipation does not get up. He recently outed in a letter he sent to star and also published on his Facebook page. Schropp has become known as a girl swarm in a ARD evening series or as a coroner in Polizeiruf 110 from Halle. Since 2010 he has been moderating talent show X Factor. In moving words, 40-year-old now describes his youth as a gay in German province and experiences he has made in his professional life: "As a moderator I was encouraged to stand in public with me. It was different for me as an actor. " While moderators and politicians in Germany are under certain conditions (y may be "out", but neverless ir sexuality should remain more unobtrusive) no more career disadvantages to expect if y are gay, actor still sees Different.

    One would presume that homosexuality is no longer a taboo in television and cinema scene: Gay and lesbian characters now belong to Tatort as well as to Game of Thrones. But here it is important to look closely. Equal rights of lesbians and gays on screen is primarily fact that heterosexual actors no longer have any inhibitions to play gays. Just like Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger 2005 in Hollywood movie Brokeback Mountain or Keanu Reeves and river Phoenix more than 25 years ago in Gus van Sants my Own Private Idaho – a classic of New Queer Cinema. Playing a gay is understood as an extraordinary challenge for a hetero man – about same level as representation of a physical or cognitive impairment, we think of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump or Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Such a task is quickly regarded as an acting brilliant achievement, for example Philip Seymour Hoffman's embodiment of gay writer Truman Capote. All three, Hanks and two Hoffmans, got an Oscar. Playing a Homo is no longer a risk for a hetero. Technically, it's even a clever move.

    Peter Rehberg

    was editor-in-chief of Gay monthly magazine "Men" and editor of Berlin City magazine "Victory Column". He also pursued an academic career, from 2011 to 2016 professor of German studies in Austin, Texas. He is currently researching at ICI Berlin.

    to author page

    This does not mean, however, that gay actors in real life can go out and continue to receive orders without any problems. At least not for hetero roles – which is overwhelming number of offers. In 1980s, Rupert Everett was considered a great hope of British cinema. Already 1989, when outing through AIDS was particularly politicized, he had courage to come out. Everett's career was not immediately finished. From now on he was allowed to play best gay friend on side of Julia Roberts or Madonna – but heterosexual leading roles in blockbusters of British cinema went to Hugh Grant. Everett's last role, embodiment of Oscar Wilde in Happy Prince, acts accordingly like a snappy commentary on his own career. Wild refusal to conceal his homosexuality in Victorian England led him to penitentiary and ended in his financial and physical ruin. Even though Rupert Everett 100 years later, of course, was not so bad: His career has definitely damaged coming-out.

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