It’s 2017, y’all, and it’s time to stop treating homosexuality (or any other sexual identity, for that matter) like a piece of clothing that can be slipped on and off at our leisure.
A prime example is Andrew Garfield, the straight, cisgender man who was for some reason, tapped to play gay icon Prior Walter, a gay man who lived with AIDS in New York at the height of the disease’s epidemic, in the London revival of Angels in America. Garfield spoke during a Q&A this week about whether he was the right person to play the role, and his views on the subject are so problematic.
When asked about the resources he tapped into to play the part, Garfield responded, “As far as I know, I am not a gay man. Maybe I’ll have an awakening later in my life, which I’m sure will be wonderful and I’ll get to explore that part of the garden, but right now I’m secluded to my area, which is wonderful as well. I adore it.”
Sorry, but sexuality isn’t something you get to choose and change your mind about at your own convenience. That’s the kind of arrogant, problematic viewpoint that only a straight, cis, white man would take, because I’m willing to bet the amount of discrimination Garfield has experienced in his life is right about zero.
Then he added this gem: “[Watching Drag Race] is my life outside of this play. I am a gay man right now just without the physical act — that’s all.”
Yeah, K, because watching a fucking TV show about drag queens definitely prepares you to convey the lived experiences of the LGBTQ community. BRB, rolled my eyes so hard I pulled something.
The fact of the matter is that Garfield shouldn’t have been playing that part. The part of a gay man belongs to a gay man. There is absolutely no way that Garfield can have an understanding of the discrimination and other lived experiences that are exclusively felt by the LGBTQ community, and to play that role is to trivialize those experiences. It’s also just really fucking arrogant on his part.
Garfield needs to stay in his lane, end of story.