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Happy Birthday to Robert Gant – an openly gay actor who can convincingly play straight!

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The talented (and oh so hunky) Robert Gant turns 42 today!

The out actor best-known for his role as gay college professor  Ben on Queer As Folk has been plenty busy since the end of that Showtime series with both straight and gay roles (that’s right Newsweek!).

Robert came out as openly gay shortly after joining the cast of Queer as the boyfriend (and later husband) of Michael played by Hal Sparks.  But before the series, he had  mostly been cast as “the boyfriend”  on such shows as Caroline in the City and Friends and had a recurring role on the cult favorite Popular as the young high school principal who all the female students were in love with.

Last year, Robert Gant did a series called Personal Affairs for the BBC that aired in the UK. He was the sole American in the cast and crew playing a guy from Amarillo, Texas – a guy who was very straight.

Straight? A gay man playing a straight role? What is going in here?

RobertGant4.jpg image by giovannif7 “That was most of what I did before,” Robert told me last year when we chatted about it. “It’s actually really refreshing to go back to my roots a bit that way. I just appreciate getting to expand again after having the concept of me contract somewhat. You have to deal with people’s own mindsets and people’s own limitations and, fortunately, that’s all expanded.”

Gant decided to come out publicly. several years before such young stars as T.R. Knight, Neil Patrick Harris, Lance Bass and Luke Macfarlane followed suit.

He has no regrets but it’s taken awhile for the industry to realize that he is just as capable of playing straight roles as he was before he went public. He believes  “the last real frontier in Hollywood”  is an openly gay leading man type actor playing a romantic straight role.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,gant2.jpg“What helps is that I know what I’m capable of and I think when you have a sense of yourself that way, the rest follows,” he says. ” The problem is when we as individuals don’t know all of who we are which is really the whole issue around being gay. I think as we as a community have come into our own in terms of our recognition of who we really are and our innate equality, then the laws are following.”

It’s not that Gant has shied away from gay roles since the end of Queer as Folk. He starred opposite Chad Allen and Judith Light in the acclaimed independent film Save Me as man struggling to live by the rules at an “ex-gay” ministry. He also played the lead role in Kiss Me Deadly, a gay spy in the adventure flick co-starring Shannen Doherty.

In 2008, Robert and I had another discussion about out actors and straight role for my old Out In Hollywood site. Here is an excerpt:

“We’re starting to cross the frontier in lots of different ways with Neil Patrick Harris’ (womanizing) character on ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ so we’re able to go there comedically,” Robert said. “We are moving toward it. It’s exciting to see Neil play that kind of a role. I see that as part of the frontier happening.

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“I’ve been crossing many of my own frontiers in my life, now I’m encountering what I believe to be the last real frontier in Hollywood which is what it means of an openly gay leading man type actor playing a romantic straight role.”

To that end, Robert has been cast as a straight man involved with a woman in He recently filmed the upcoming Lifetime movie, “Special Delivery,” in which he is involved with a woman played by Lisa Edelstein of “House.” The role involved an on-screen kiss.

Since straight actors who play gay sometimes have issues with a same-sex kiss, I wondered how Robert dealt with kissing a female.

“It was great,” he said. “Personally, I think I’m a pretty damned good kisser and I enjoy it. Lisa asked, ‘Have you kissed many women?’I said, ‘I certainly have.’ She said, ‘Do we kiss different than guys?’ it was kind of interesting to her. It was two actors kind of going there.”

More recently, Robert did guest spots on the new sitcom Hot in Cleveland and the hit drama Bones. Not sure if he played gay or straight in those!

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FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Comments

(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

13 Remarks

  1. Robert Gant played a gay role on the 5th season of Bones. He was the coach of an all-gay recreational league football team.

    Interestingly, another football player character in that episode was named “Cyd Zigler”. Of course, Cyd Zeigler is the co-founder of Outsports.com. The episode writer Josh Berman had consulted with Zeigler about gay football players.

  2. He’s a masculine man. Gay or straight has nothing to do with that.

  3. He played a straight character in Hot in Cleveland.

  4. Love his work!!! Hey Robert…just sent you a message…from studiocity##. Hear back from you soon and HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!

  5. It’s subjective, but I think the chemistry between Robert Gant and Chad Allen in “Save Me” was the most aunthentic I’ve seen in either actor’s onscreen gay relationships. The erotic charge was very palpable although there was hardly anything more than a kiss. “In Queer As Folk,” the dynamic was generally one-way between Gant and Hal Sparks, with Sparks getting more wide-eyed with the stage craftsman’s fear of the unknown as the sex scene gets deeper into homosexual territory. Chad Allen’s gay relationship in the Donald Strachey series on the other hand is more domestic than erotic, and can be taken as a good recommendation for being ahead of its time but not proof positive of Allen’s potential as half of an X-rated gay erotic obssession equivalent of “9 1/2 Weeks, starring him as a repressed closeted priest in a poor Hispanic district and Gant as an electrician/powerline man who is called to repair the rundown church’s deteriorating electrical wiring system. Unlike most gay priests who prefer boys, Allen’s character pines for alphamale authority figures who sweat and smell like real men. Gant’s character arrives in a utility truck, but on their first “date” the week after their first mmeting, he picks Allen up on his Harley. Hhmmmm. If you’ve read Patricia Nell Warren’s “The Fancy Dancer,” you know what I mean. After “Brokeback Mountain,” the world is ready for a gay “Last Tango In Paris,” but this time, there’s not just frontal nudity but full erection as well; feral and fleeting but unmistakeable, with the lights going out on penetration and pelvic pile driving but visible still via silhouette. Very controversial and restricted theatrically but very commercially successful on DVD. Title: “The Saviour.”

  6. June 19th, 2012 at 5:53 pm
    Pierré Beukes says:

    Mr Gant you do us “Queers” proud!!!
    How does one go about getting some of
    your work in South Africa? And as I’m an
    Opera singer I’d like to hear you sing.
    You will find me as Zenor0 on twitter Or as
    Pierré Beukes on facebook. Oh yes how do
    Ya get to be so hot still @ our age. Many
    Many many happy returns to you handsome!!!

  7. Hi,

    Just wondering where the photos are from. I know the last one is from Friends!

    Thanks in advance,
    Rahima

  8. April 21st, 2013 at 8:25 pm
    Taj Evangelista says:

    Tikannis Robert. Happy Birthday Bambino.

  9. Robert I have no words but simply WOW to express the love within for you.

  10. February 27th, 2014 at 2:32 am
    Evian olivares says:

    I love you so much. I hope to see you in future roles gay/straight, your uniqueness is classic and refreshing !

  11. Is he playing role of Sharon’s lawyer on y&r?

  12. Dear Robert Gant, thank you for your honest portrayal of a Gay man on Queer As Folk. Although the show ended several years ago, I have only recently binge-watched the entire series in the last couple of weeks. I found the series not only visually exciting but also with some great questions addressed whether we are gay or straight. I would hope that after they call it a wrap on any artistic venture you take on, that people will write you years afterwards how much you have given. — a fan in the crowd, John D,

  13. Happy “B” day to one of my favorite actors. Straight or gay…who cares your gorgeous …

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