“If Brokeback Mountain starred two macho, hunky, out, gay actors, it would be much less of a cultural moment, with much less chance of drawing a general audience. It’s the straightness of the male leads playing gay that generates the energy and the buzz. Will they kiss? You betcha. Will they go further? Probably not, that would be too gay. From at least as far back as Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, the straight-playing-gay setup functions as the evidence of exceptional commitment, exceptional acting ability: if they’re willing to play gay, in spite of how repellent they must, as real straight men, find it, well obviously they’re artists of the highest, purist level. So on the one hand I’m grateful to these two actors for making what, from all I hear, is likely to be a terrific movie that I will love for the way it portrays gay people with individuality and authenticity. And on the other hand, I resent these two actors for leveraging gay people’s outsider status to show how talented and hip they are.”


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