Kate Winslet Says She Knows LGBTQ+ Actors Who Are “Terrified” Of Coming Out

In a new interview, Kate Winslet has spoken candidly about Hollywood's less than progressive attitude towards queerness.
The actress's latest film, Ammonite, is a queer love story inspired by the life of British palaeontologist Mary Anning. In the film, Winslet's character enters into a passionate romantic relationship with fellow geologist Charlotte Murchison, played by Saoirse Ronan.
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in calls for queer roles to be played by queer actors. Russell T Davies, writer of this year's landmark HIV/AIDS drama It's a Sin, told PinkNews in January: "I genuinely think that casting gay as gay now is the right thing to do."
Davies and his fellow creatives put their money where their mouth is with It's a Sin, taking care to cast queer actors in every single queer role.
In a new interview with The Sunday Times, Winslet acknowledged that, as a heterosexual woman, her casting as a queer character in Ammonite could be seen as controversial.
"We could have had a conversation about how I feel about playing a lesbian and possibly taking that role from somebody," she said. "But I'm done with not being honest about what my real opinions are, and I know the part was never offered to anybody else. In taking this part I had an opportunity to bring an LGBTQ story into living rooms."
Winslet went on to discuss the way the film industry has encouraged young LGBTQ+ actors to be fearful of coming out, in case it dents their career prospects.
"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. Now that’s f***ed up," she said.
Citing a specific example, Winslet added: "A well-known actor has just got an American agent and the agent said, ‘I understand you are bisexual. I wouldn’t publicise that.’ I can think of at least four actors absolutely hiding their sexuality. It’s painful. Because they fear being found out. And that’s what they say. 'I don’t want to be found out.’'"
Winslet's second-hand experiences of Hollywood homophobia chime grimly with the first-hand experiences of actress Kristen Stewart. She revealed in 2019 that Hollywood insiders had encouraged her to keep her queerness on the down-low, saying: "I have fully been told, 'If you just like do yourself a [favour], and don’t go out holding your girlfriend’s hand in public, you might get a Marvel movie.'"

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