Jonathan Bailey, who stars in Netflix’s Bridgerton, is speaking out about being gay in the entertainment industry, telling Sir Ian McKellen that he’s experienced the most alarm about his sexual orientation from studio executives who are also gay.
Said Bailey to McKellen in Attitude: “The most conservative conversations I’ve had about me being honest about my sexuality in this day and age have come from gay men in the industry, ‘Oh, no, you can’t come out. You shouldn’t really do that If you do that, you’re going to have to…’ They’re either people who work in publicity, or there’s also been casting directors who have put the call into my agent to say, ‘Just so that you know, the way that this is going to be sold is that it’s a gay story written by gay writers for gay actors. So by just taking the role…'”
“This was at a stage where perhaps I was coming to terms with my own sexuality, I hadn’t necessarily hidden it,” added Bailey. “But I’ve never been not honest about it. It’s just there had never been a need to talk about it. There’s a sense of shame, I think, that’s palpable throughout gay men within the industry. But then there’s also this heteronormative, heterosexual understanding of sexuality.”
“So, in my generation, the out gay actors are now being poached,” Bailey continued. “And you get a script sent through and they’ll say, ‘Must be comfortable with talking about sexuality.’ So that is in one way a brilliant thing, because it’s saying we’re not encouraging anyone not to talk about sexuality, but it’s also showing that sexuality is becoming a commodity. That actually there needs to be this sense that studios are hiring gay actors to play either gay actors or straight.”
“They want you to be gay, but not too gay,” added Bailey.
Read more at Attitude…