In a new interview, Kate Winslet reveals that she knows four closeted actors, all of whom refuse to come out for fear of damaging their careers.
“I cannot tell you the number of young actors I know — some well known, some starting out — who are terrified their sexuality will be revealed and that it will stand in the way of their being cast in straight roles,” the actress told The Sunday Times. “Now that’s f-cked up.”
“I can think of at least four actors absolutely hiding their sexuality,” Winslet added. “It’s painful because they fear being found out. And that’s what they say, ‘I don’t want to be found out.’”
The actress went on to say that she knows a “well-known” actor who recently changed agents. His new agent pressured him to stay in the closet rather than come out as bisexual. Winslet also speculates that men face a much higher hurdle when it comes to coming out, as Hollywood clings to the attitude that queer men can’t play straight characters.
“That should be almost illegal,” Winslet insisted. “You would not believe how widespread it is. And it can’t just be distilled to the question about gay actors playing gay parts. Because actors, in some cases, are choosing not to come out for personal reasons. And it’s nobody’s business.”
“I don’t intend to browbeat or take on Hollywood,” Winslet said. “We’re just talking about young actors who might be considering joining this profession and finding a way to make it more open. For there to be less judgment, discrimination, and homophobia.”
Winslet’s remarks come at a sensitive time for LGBTQ actors in Hollywood. While some creators–notably Russell T. Davies, creator of It’s a Sin–have become more vocal in the need for Hollywood to only cast queer actors as queer characters, others including Neil Patrick Harris, Stanley Tucci, Viggo Mortensen and even Kate Winslet herself have criticized that attitude, insisting that sexuality should not play a role in qualifying an actor for a part. Winslet herself recently played a lesbian in the drama Ammonite. In the same interview, she also revealed she was the only actress considered for the part.