Ambiguous Zone

If We Were Back in WWII, Straight Actor James Franco Would Have Had Sex with You Maybe

Between World War I and World War II, straight guys could have sex with other guys and still be perceived as straight as long as they acted masculine. Whether you were considered a “fairy” or a “queer” back then wasn’t based on sexual acts so much as outward behavior. Into the 1950s, 1960s and so on, the straight and gay thing came up based on your sexual partner. Because of those labels, you do it once and you’re gay, so you get fewer guys who are kind of in the middle zone. It sounds as though I’m advocating for an ambiguous zone or something, but I’m just interested in the way perception changes behavior.

James Franco is forced yet again to explain his fascination with gay and queer characters. This time, by Playboy.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #gaycharacters #gayrumors #jamesfranco stories and more


  • gregger

    I have sex with him, but only if he kept his mouth shut unless he was going down on me.

  • Robert

    Ah, yeah.
    There’s just the little problem of men having sex with someone of their same gender
    was a criminal act. The greatest REAL fear of men during this time was to be arrested, sent to jail or confined to a mental hospital to be “cured” and to branded for life as a sexual deviant which meant you couldn’t get a job. It kinda mattered how the criminal system perceived you.

  • TomMc

    @gregger: Not that I’d say no to your Franco scenario but I’d rather talk to him; he intrigued me on Colbert earlier this year.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    So in other words, to fuck James Franco you have to be butch, not femme, and you have to identify as straght, and not “queer”.

  • Scott Mattson

    My MA Advisor and I did work in this area. You can read more about it in:

    Departing from Deviance


    355 pages | 6 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2001
    The struggle to remove the stigma of sickness surrounding same-sex love has a long history. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its diagnostic classification of mental illness, but the groundwork for this pivotal decision was laid decades earlier. In this new study, Henry L. Minton looks back at the struggle of the American gay and lesbian activists who chose scientific research as a path for advancing homosexual rights. He traces the history of gay and lesbian emancipatory research from its early beginnings in the late nineteenth century to its role in challenging the illness model in the 1970s. By examining archival sources and unpublished manuscripts, Minton reveals the substantial accomplishments made by key researchers and relates their life stories. He also considers the contributions of mainstream sexologists such as Alfred C. Kinsey and Evelyn Hooker, who supported the cause of homosexual rights through the advancement of scientific knowledge. By uncovering this hidden chapter in the story of gay liberation, Departing from Deviance makes an important contribution to both the history of science and the history of sexuality.

  • Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones:

    He’s lying. He gets in on with loads of guys from what I hear.

  • Tony

    James Franco is a genius. He’s probably the best gay-baiter out there. He’s a cool straight guy who knows how miserable gays are with themselves and that we love nothing more than to believe a hot straight guy is secretely gay…because that’s what we all really want…to convert all straight guys. Franco throws around these gay quips and innuendos and you gays just eat it up. Franco knows that every gay guy wants a straight man, and since gays are not only stupid, but very loyal, he has a permanant fan base. So go on believing Franco is secretely one of you while he laughs all the way to the bank and into the arms of his hot girlfriend.

  • Art

    Haters be hatin’. We have someone who is softening society’s hard edge and all the losers here just attack.

  • Tony

    I don’t hate James Franco, I like him very much and think he’s extremely talented and very underrated. My problem is our straight male allies (and I’m very thankful to have them) who proclaim their pro-gay stance than do the “and I’m straight….maybe…wink wink”. Or when they announce their gay positiveness by running to OUT magazine and doing a shirtless and/or pantless photo shoot. See, because sex is the only language gay men understand. And we can’t take you seriously unless we think there’s a chance we can get you in bed or at least let us see you practically naked. I know these straight guys mean well, but I just find it a little insulting.

  • Mike in Asheville

    @Tony: I certainly agree that James Franco is a genius — I love his work.

    But, you are WRONG WRONG WRONG when you say “Franco knows that every gay guy wants a straight man, and since gays are not only stupid, but very loyal, he has a [sic] permanant fan base.”

    Yes there are gay men who not only long for straight men, they go out and find those men to have sex with. Zero appeal to me but to each his own.

    BUT, the vast majority of gay men are into gay sex with gay men who also enjoy having gay sex with fellow gay men. I, for one, have NEVER had sex with any women nor any man who was not into having gay sex (as in, kissing, making out, and mutual excitement to orgasm). By definition, all men (and there have many many over my 33 years of active sex life) who I have had sex with were, at least with me, gay or bi, and into mutual satisfaction gay sex.

  • adam

    @Tony: But if hot straight ally celebrity guys say in interviews they are definitely straight and only attracted to women when asked about sexuality and dating then there is a lot of complaining in the gay community over that (“What did he have to say that for? He must be afraid being pro-gay publicly will make people think he’s gay! That’s implying being gay is bad!”) and a lot of suggestions by our community that the celebrity guy is probably gay since he “doth protest too much”. They don’t really have a winning option on this.

  • christopher di spirito

    Franco is an interesting guy. Smart, talented and engaged. I like him.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @adam: “They don’t really have a winning option on this.”

    Which is exactly why they need to STFU and GTFO and stop involving themselves in a struggle they don’t comprehend, and where they’re not wanted.

  • alan Balehead

    he’s too old already!!!

  • Woody

    Gossip columnist Ted Casablanca has posts or “blind items” about celebrities and he uses odd monikers in his posts. Many of his regular readers leave comments trying to guess the celebrities based on clues in Ted’s posts. Here is a link to the latest post where readers have assumed the blind item is about this actor: I think alot of the fuel for believing rumors about “straight” actors comes from gossips spreading the fire.

  • Interesting

    I am not attracted to him, but I do think he’s gay. The best way to hide is in plain sight.

  • Joey

    He is certainly not straight. His long-term, off-and-on boyfriend and producing partner is butch. This is the closest James has ever come to explaining why he doesn’t identify as gay (aside from the fact that he has had, and may continue to have, sex with women). Interesting comment from him about the first half of the 20th century.

  • 12345deviant

    @Tony: did you just call me stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? I’m a whore not stupid, ASS! If your so superior and straight, why are you on a gay news site.

  • Red Meat

    Since everyone hates James Franco for being straight and overly gay friendly, I want someone to tell me who the hell the gay community accepts as straight and overly gay friendly? Or is that impossible?

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Red Meat: You just answered your own question.

  • Tony

    @Mike in Asheville:
    Calm down mike, when I said “Franco knows every gay guy wants a straight man” I was being sarcastic.

    What on earth made you think I was straight?

    What straight male celeb has come out as pro-gay and them was attacked for “admitting” his love of women and how does that imply gay is bad? I don’t follow.

    What I’m saying is: I love straight men who support us and our “cause”, however, I don’t like them pandering to my sexuality. You don’t have to pretend to be possibly gay or bi, or tease me with your body to get my attention. I feel by doing this, you’re totally buying into the sterotype that gay men are sexual deviates that will F**K anybody at anytime, we want every man we see…especially stright ones and sex is the only thing we’re about.

  • Scott Mattson

    Jeez. How about that what he is saying just happens to be true and historically accurate?!? He’s done his homework and doesn’t need to be attacked just because others haven’t done theirs or are not trying to really get what he is saying.

    Minton, H. L. & Mattson, S. R. (1998). Deconstructing heterosexuality: Life stories from gay New York, 1935-1941. The Journal of Homosexuality, 36(1), 43-61.

    “By 1940, the sexual identity of heterosexuality became established in American popular culture. In the late 1930s, a path-breaking study of homosexuality was conducted by a multidiscipli-nary team of medical and scientific specialists, under the sponsorship of the Committee for the Study of Sex Variants. The “sex variants” study was based on a sample of volunteers from New York’s lesbian and male homosexual community. This article focuses on a narrative analysis of the case study texts of the male sample. Using deconstruction as an interpretive strategy, the texts are examined in relation to the culturally dominant sexual ideology of heterosexuality. Implications are drawn about the relevance of life stories to identity politics.”

    Also see the work of George Chauncey:

    “His book Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (1994) was published to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellions. It combined social, political, and cultural history, and in it Chauncey argues that early twentieth century New York had a thriving, open gay culture. Using newspaper accounts from a wide variety of mainstream and underground publications, the archives of reform organizations, police and court records, popular cartoons and caricatures, guidebooks, and maps, Chauncey offers a rich and textured account of urban gay life. The book was acclaimed for several original findings, among them the malleability of sexual identities (he finds, for example, widespread acceptance of homosexual practices among working-class, heteronormative men), the use of house concerts as covers for sexual activity, a discussion of the “panzy craze”, and the relative novelty of the category of “closeted” gay men. According to Chauncey, it was not until the 1930s and afterward that a strict regime of policing gay male sexuality emerged. It was in this period, he contends, that homosexual behavior began to move underground.”

    For a stunning account of what Franco is saying, also see:

    Christian Brotherhood or Sexual Perversion? Homosexual Identities and the Construction of Sexual Boundaries in the World War One Era
    George Chauncey, Jr.
    Journal of Social History
    Vol. 19, No. 2 (Winter, 1985), pp. 189-211

  • Joey

    James is not straight, but he won’t come out as “not straight” because too many people are invested in his celebrity. Does that change anything for anyone here? I repeat: James is NOT STRAIGHT. I’m not just ‘calling it as I see it’ or going by gaydar; I know this for a fact.

  • M


    I know, too. Believe you me. I have too many NYU friends to count and I’ve heard more than enough.

  • Straight my ass

    No. 24 & 25 are spot on. James is NOT straight. I can’t believe some people on here believe his is.

  • Interesting

    @Straight my ass: Well, some in the gay community feel its their duty to protect the closet of “no straight men” in the entertainment industry for some reason. Look at the example of the guy from White Collar. He does not keep any other aspect of his life private except his sexual orientation. yet, there are those who will say on here that his privacy should be protected. This is a guy who talks about his children on TV. Discusses other aspects of his private life. I have seen the same on other sites. i.e. Queen latifah should have the right to privacy about her sexual orientation although she admited to be sexually molested as a kid. She has my sympathies over that, but what could be more private than that? At the end of the day, people for some reason think that we got to protect people like Franco. Personally, I like him as an actor. I think he’s talented. So I don’t care. But the whole effort to protect him is strange.

  • Lolalai

    No.27 The efforts to protect him can be explained by ‘his people’ who make a living out of him. Such as they do with many other actors, singers, etc… If the actors true sexuality were revealed, their livelihoods would go down the drain.

Comments are closed.