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Queer as Folk’s Randy Harrison: “As an audience member, I would rather watch gay people play gay roles”

There’s a really good wide-ranging interview with Queer as Folk alum Randy Harrison in the new Instinct Magazine.

He, of course, played Justin for five seasons on the US version. He’s asked about possible reboots of the series and shares his thoughts on that. We also learn how he’s spent his pandemic year and why he’s been so committed to his stage career over the past 20 years.

I wanted to highlight here the openly-gay Randy’s thoughts about gay actors playing gay roles:

I love all the actors of Queer as Folk and I thought they all did an awesome job, but as an audience member, I would rather watch gay people play gay roles. I was just reading an interview with Ryan Spahn, and he was talking about how there has only been one gay actor ever nominated for an Oscar for playing a gay role. Ian McKellen for Gods and Monsters. However there has been like 65 plus straight actors nominated for playing gay and trans roles. As a gay actor, I am well aware of the difficulty in finding work as a queer performer. I am well aware of facing homophobia in the casting process. I am well aware of how limited we are perceived as artists by heterosexual communities.

I am anxious for more opportunities. I want to see gay, trans, queer, nonbinary people all over the media, especially playing themselves. It is not the straight actor’s fault. It is the culture as a whole that raises their work above that of queer people. It can be very frustrating when a queer person is denied the opportunity to play a queer role, especially because it means something different. It is just a shame they are denied those opportunities.

FILE UNDER: Actors/Actresses


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4 Remarks

  1. April 10th, 2021 at 5:09 am
    Ed Meiller says:

    Does that preclude Gay actors playing straight roles?

  2. I have been lucky enough to see Randy in many of his performances on Broadway, off Broadway, off off, at the Fringe Festival and The Berkshire Theatre Festival over the years so I hope he is correct that audiences will once again have the opportunity to attend live theatre and revel in the magic. I miss live theatre terribly! Being transported and engulfed in imagination and music and drama is what we need post pandemic, whenever that may be. As for a QAF reboot, leave it be. It doesn’t need to be updated – ever. Let the men and women of (American) QAF and their stories stand on their own, good or bad.

  3. “Does that preclude Gay actors playing straight roles?”

    Could we stop with this? Gay actors are rarely cast in straight roles AND they are rarely cast in prominent gay roles. And straight people are not a marginalized group.

  4. I find it dissapointing to find so often how many gay roles are played by straight actors. I think one of the things about “POSE” is the queer cast playing queer roles.

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