Darren Criss Says He’ll No Longer Accept Gay Roles—And His Reason Is Everything ❤️

Darren Criss was once known for his memorable turn in FOX’s musical TV series Glee as Blaine Anderson, the devoted boyfriend of Kurt Hummel, played by Chris Colfer.

Ryan Murphy, who was the showrunner for Glee, saw further potential in Criss and gave the former glee club heartthrob a career-defining role that was recognized with an Emmy for Oustanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his portrayal of real-life serial killer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

Both of these roles, among many others Criss has taken on during his burgeoning career,  have something in common: The personas he played were gay. Now, moving forward, he wants to avoid playing gay characters.

His reasoning is significant and genuine. Watch the interview in the Clorox YouTube clip below.

“There are certain [queer] roles that I’ll see that are just wonderful,” he said in a Clorox’s What Comes Next Project interview that was streamed live on December 11, in New York. “But I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”

He emphasized his gratitude for playing gay characters and said, “It’s been a real joy.”

As a heterosexual actor, the 31-year-old admitted he was no longer comfortable playing gay characters.

He explained:

“The reason I say that is because getting to play those characters is inherently a wonderful dramatic experience. It has made for very, very compelling and interesting people.”

Bustle noted why his statement was relevant to LGBTQ representation, or lack thereof, in Hollywood. According to the annual GLAAD “Where We Are on TV” report, only 75 roles would be LGBTQ characters — out of 857 series regular characters featured on five of the major networks’ programming in the 2018 – 2019 season.

Still, the statistic is the highest in the 14 years GLAAD has been releasing the report.

Queer actors regularly lose work to heterosexual actors in gay roles. The practice of making gay films palatable to non-gay audiences was referred to as “straightwash” in an article featured on them.

Contributing entertainment journalist Seamus Kirst asked that Hollywood allow queer people to tell their own stories instead of resorting to “gay-for-pay Oscar bait.” A prime example is the critically acclaimed Call Me By Your Name, featuring actors Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer – both of whom are not openly gay – playing the two protagonists in love with each other.

Twitter user @benevolent_gay expressed his frustration over gay actors losing out on many opportunities.

Criss touched on the importance of an actor’s real-life experience bringing authenticity to a role. “The commitment to that drama is told in such a way that it can really effectively reach people’s lives. I think that really is important,” he said.

People were appreciative of Criss’s support for the LGBTQ community.

Ethnic representation is something Criss is very mindful of as well. Playing Cunanan, who was Filipino-American, was a significant opportunity for representation. Criss’s mother is from the Philippines and his dad is from Pittsburgh, PA.

“There’s something very twisted about the fact that somebody that I share ethnicity with, a Caucasian-Filipino-American who is famous for doing something absolutely deplorable, is now the reason that I get to sit here and talk to you. That is sort of a bizarre twist of fate.”

“I didn’t choose to be half-Filipino. I mean I love it, it’s very cool, and if this has been the outcome sure, I’m very pleased and proud that I can represent people that may see my presence in the media as a beacon for themselves,” he says now. “That’s a real privilege.”

With allies like Criss helping to open more doors for queer actors, let’s hope there is a lockdown on discriminatory casting.