Tell it like it is

Alan Cumming has strong opinions on pronouns and circumcision

Never one to demure, actor Alan Cumming has defended queer actors in Hollywood. The actor also slammed the aversion to people including their preferred pronouns in emails.

The 55-year-old star of films, Broadway and television shows like The Good Wife told The Guardian that he has no shame or regret about coming out early in his career. “It’s never felt complicated, my sexuality,” he says. “I’ve never had shame about sex in general or homosexuality. Growing up, I saw a man who was unable to control his desire. It made me feel like I’ve got a sexual appetite and it’s not a bad thing. Seeing my father struggle with this and realizing that he had no control over it made me feel liberated.”

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“The constant question I used to get was: ‘Do you think that coming out is bad for your career in Hollywood?’ It’s such a ridiculous question,” Cumming quips. “I don’t think people in Basingstoke or Idaho are not going to go and see a movie because someone in it is gay. I really don’t think they care.”

Cumming has detailed his complex–and at times, abusive–relationship with his father in his memoir, Not My Father’s Son. His father’s homophobia inspired Cumming to come out as his star rose in showbiz; he won a Tony for Cabaret in 1998, and spoke openly of his sexuality at the time.

The actor also continues to champion queer rights in all forms. That includes increased awareness of gender identity. “When people get all weird about people putting pronouns at the end of their emails, I think: ‘F*ck you,'” he says. “These people are being kind to you and doing you a favor by telling you how they want to be defined.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Cumming had this to say about circumcision:

“I never thought anything about my foreskin, and then I came to America and I was having sex and people would just be gasping because they’d never seen a foreskin before. I was made to feel weird and freakish because I had an intact body.

“It’s genital mutilation. And I think people say: ‘Oh, that’s hysterical.’ But we do it to girls and it’s called genital mutilation.”

At present, Cumming hosts the podcast Homo Sapiens. The new season begins April 30.