It’s 2018, but unfortunately, for many Hollywood executives, it’s still inconceivable to imagine a queer actor playing a straight person. So what does the entertainment industry do? Try to keep these actors closeted. And it’s not specific to the film and television industry either. As celebrities such as Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui and Hayley Kiyoko prove, closeting celebrities for the sake of their career still remains an issue.
However, there are many LGBTQ celebrities who are sharing their story and speaking out against the stigma associated with being gay and in the limelight. Despite the advice they heard early in their careers, these celebrities are here to show that being gay has no effect on someone’s success. So listen up, Hollywood; these stars won’t stay closeted—and they’re not going to let you advise any up-and-coming talent to stay closeted either.
After she came out, Heard, who has dated both men and women, was told that she was "throwing away" her career. The actress, who has played the love interest of actors such as Johnny Depp and Nicolas Cage, was advised to stay closeted at risk of no longer being seen as a leading lady.
“Everyone told me: ‘You cannot do this.’ I had played opposite Nicolas Cage [in one movie], and in another I was playing opposite Johnny. And everyone said, ‘You’re throwing it all away. You can’t do this to your career.’ And I said, ‘I cannot do this any other way. Watch me,'" Heard told Allure. “They pointed to no other working romantic lead, no other actress, that was out."
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Evan Rachel Wood
Wood is an Emmy-nominated actress and the star of HBO's Westworld. However, before she became one of television's most iconic robots, she was advised to not come out a bisexual. "A lot of people warned me about [coming out]. 'Will people be able to see you one way?'" Wood told DailyXtra. "No. I think the world is changing, and we're seeing doors open for the LGBT industry, especially in the entertainment industry, even the films that we're making the topics that we're focusing on."
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Despite coming out in 2014 and never looking back, Page wasn't immune to Hollywood's misconception that coming out was a death sentence as an actor. “There’s this narrative that people are attached to: You cannot come out because it’s going to hurt your career,” Page told Variety. “And that’s potentially true. When I made the decision to come out, I wasn’t naive to that.”
Page opened up further about the fear to come out in an interview with The Guardian, in which she revealed that she was afraid of missing out on roles because of her sexual orientation. “I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t something I feared, and that’s the big reason so many people haven’t come out," Page said.
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As a member of Fifth Harmony, Jauregui was positioned for success in the music industry. But as her fame rose, she heard comments from her friends and family to keep her bisexuality a secret, as it might risk her music career.
“A lot of artists are held back by the notion that they’ll lose their fan base or alienate themselves,” Jauregui told Out. “Even friends and family would tell me to keep it to myself. But the more I thought about it, the more I was like, Why?”
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Not only is Paulson queer, but when she began dating her 74-year-old girlfriend, Holland Taylor, she was advised to keep her relationship hush-hush in fear that it might hurt her career.
"Early on, when people found out I was with Holland, some said: 'I think you have to be careful, I'm afraid it's going to affect your career negatively.' I was like, What? It never occurred to me at all," Paulson told The Edit about the criticism for her relationship's 32-year age difference.
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As the star of Disney Channel's "That's So Raven," Raven has been open about how the network controlled her image—including whether or not the public knew about her sexuality. "My likeness, whether you see it in an interview, whether you see it in print, however you see it at that time, had 15 people dictating what I should and should not look like. If I did whatever I want, I'm not going to sell because it doesn't go with the brand. I was branded at such a young age," she told L/Studio.
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As the Flash in DC Comics's Justice League franchise, Miller is on his way to becoming a household name. But when he was starting out, the actor was told to not come out, as revealing that he was queer would "thwart" his chances at becoming a leading man.
"I won’t specify [who told me not to come out]. Folks in the industry, folks outside the industry. People I’ve never spoken to. They said there’s a reason so many gay, queer, gender-fluid people in Hollywood conceal their sexual identity or their gender identity in their public image. I was told I had done a 'silly' thing in … thwarting my own potential to be a leading man," Miller told ShortList.
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Haynes came out as gay in 2016, but when he was starting out as a model and an actor, he was told not to reveal his sexuality, which is why it took years for him to come out publicly. "I was literally told from the day that I moved to Los Angeles that I could not be gay because I wouldn't work," Haynes told SiriusXM.
Haynes revealed that his team even tried to set him up with female celebrities, such as Lauren Conrad, to steer the public away from speculating that he's gay. "They tried to set me up with girls. I was rumored to date Lauren Conrad for six months because they were kind of angling a story," he said.
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Kiyoko is referred to by fans as "lesbian Jesus," but when she was an aspiring up-and-coming singer, she contemplated coming out in fear that she would be pigeonholed as an artist because of her sexuality. "I always told my manager: 'I don’t want to come out. I just want people to watch my art and take it for what it is,'" she told DallasVoice.
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