Being Out In Hollywood Still A Risk

As Ellen and Portia walk down the aisle and Neil Patrick Harris escorts his boyfriend to red carpet events, it would seem that being gay in Hollywood has become quite common. And, more importantly, acceptable.

While that’s certainly true in a relative sense – can you imagine Rock Hudson doing the same? – the NY Times ran an article this weekend on the challenges facing out actors in Tinseltown.

…For most gay actors, Hollywood is not a warm and fuzzy episode of “Will & Grace.” Today, it is certainly more acceptable to be openly gay. But these actors must still answer wrenching questions: Just how candid do you want to be? Would you be happy appearing only in comedies, or being pigeonholed as a character actor? And what does the line “You’re just not right for the role” really mean?

Openly gay can still mean they would rather not talk about it. Most gay actors are mum in public or on the set, even if they don’t hide their orientation in private, actors and others in the entertainment industry said. Although most may no longer participate in charades – the “girlfriend” on the red carpet, for instance – many adopt a don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

Why? For both men and women, being openly gay, at least for now, means giving up any hope of superstardom.

That’s not true for Ellen, sure, but that doesn’t mean she’s using her celebrity to help the homos. This picture, taken on Sunday, comes from a “Yes on Prop. 2” event that Ellen and Portia hosted. Proposition 2 is for the rights of farm animals. Though she’s spoken out against Proposition 8, which would overturn gay marriage, Ellen has yet to donate or raise money for the cause.