Tuc Watkins wants to see a wider array of gay characters in television and film
Tuc Watkins, best known for playing straight on the daytime soap One Life to Live and gay on the primetime soap Desperate Housewives, wants to see Hollywood create a wider array of gay characters.
‘Yes, different gay characters are trickling in,’ Watkins writes in a Facebook post earlier today. ‘But Hollywood is the gatekeeper of the cultural lexicon. We set the pace. Let’s step it up. America can handle it.
‘If we conjured Kim Kardashian out of nothing can’t we do the same with a gay badass who fights crime?’
Watkins remarked on Facebook on December 19 that the characters of Cam and Mitch on Modern Family sometimes made him cringe and that they are the gay equivalent of ‘blackface.’
This led to a response from Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson who defended the characters and Watkins apologized for use of the word blackface.
But he stands by his opinion that ‘the gay character in TV and film has been too similar, too often, for too long.’
‘What’s happening over at Modern Family is not blackface,’ he writes in his latest post. ‘Blackface is hateful. However, I do believe a stereotype is being perpetuated that can be harmful.’
The actor shares that growing up, he was was scared of the ‘over-the-top flamboyant gay stereotype’ he saw on television and in films.
He’s not now.
‘Hell, I can "queen out" with the best of them,’ he writes. ‘But when I was a kid the stereotype distanced me from who I would eventually become.
‘Maybe I would be a little further up the pyramid towards self-actualization if I had a role model at that age. Instead, I buried myself so deep into trying to make my friends laugh, theatre, sports, etc., so I wouldn’t have to spend a moment thinking about what a "unique" person I was.
‘I appreciate that the stereotype in question may have helped someone else. It did not help me. It confused me. It kept me in the closet. Actually it was worse than that because I hit the denial button before I’d even heard of "the closet."’
Watkins is now a father of twins who came out publicly last year.
In addition to his role as a gay attorney on Desperate Housewives, he has also played a gay soap star in the film I Think I Do, a gay television executive on the Showtime series Beggars and Choosers, and a gay actor in the popular online series Where the Bears Are.
‘I ain’t a hero. Nor am I a villain,’ he writes. ‘I’m a guy with an opinion that comes from my gut and I want to change the world. Through the gay characters that I have played I have attempted to confuse the stereotype instead of perpetuate it. Bully for me.’