Neil Patrick Harris: ‘Please Don’t Look At Us As Gay Role Models’

I sort of go out of my way not to be Soap Box Johnny. We’re super happy to lead by example, but even to define ourselves in any kind of leadership position I think is awkward. I cringe when I hear people say they consider themselves role models.”

Neil Patrick Harris

We really don’t do anything. We take care of our kids. We’re in a relationship. We love each other, but we don’t go out of the way to stand on a soapbox…”

– David Burtka discussing their discomfort with being looked at as gay role models.

via Instinct. Image via Greg in Hollywood.

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  • Henry

    Good for them. They sound like healthy adults and fathers. If all fathers were that healthy, and not super concerned about being role models, or super unconcerned about setting an example, we wouldn’t have troubled sons at age 33 who never really grew up.

  • Franco

    Queerty, please proof-read before you hit the submit button! Look at the title of this post! You guys constantly make mistakes and therefore lack credibility.

  • the other Greg

    Okay – how about Hopelessly Remote Superqueers?

  • Chad

    No worries, we do not!

  • Terry

    @the other Greg: Ha ha. I think it’s a good thing for adult men to be hopelessly remote. It makes them dreamy – and there are a lot of young gay boys out there who fall in love with their fathers.

  • Cam

    It isn’t any of their actions. It’s the fact that they are open about their lives. Just like anybody else.

    Neil Patrick Harris being on a successful sitcom as a straight guy MIGHT start to convince the homophobes in Hollywood to stop their bigotry.

    The BBC seems to be far ahead of us. Not only is John Barrowman out openly, but Russel Tovey has been openly gay since he was 18 and he is currently starring as a leading man in two of the top BBC series. “Being Human” and “Him and Her”, in both he plays a straight man sexually active with a girlfriend.

    So thank you to Neil, John, Russell, Ellen, Portia, Martina, Ricky, and the others that I have forgotten. You don’t have to be perfect, but being brave enough to live their lives publically makes each of you an example to all the closeted gay kids out there! :)

  • Vic

    What a contrast! The story is about 2 successful, happy men who are raising a family and who don’t want take advantage of their celebrity in order to browbeat others. By contrast, the story is being posted by a fake “journalist” who does no actual reporting but who merely leeches off of the work of others. This fake “journalist” can’t even properly proof-read his parasitic work and so posts the story with a big error in the headline. And this loser is best known for churning out homophobic pieces that are regularly cited by anti-gay groups around the world.

    Dan Villarreal, given that you are a failure of a human being, don’t you think it is time that you slithered away to your mother’s basement and allowed Queerty to improve?

  • Jose

    Not sure on the ‘not wanting to be role models’ bit. They seem to sell their stories a lot to the media. Kids pictures on covers, etc. I guess that’s different than wanting to be a role model.

  • Vic

    @Jose: That’s right, it is different. The former is 2 celebs telling the public about themselves. The public can take it or leave it. The latter is 2 celebs setting themselves up as moral authorities and lecturing the public on how great they are.

  • Spike

    I just like to look at them and visualize the hot sex they have together, I hope that’s OK, NPH.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    That’s right, it is different. The former is 2 celebs telling the public about themselves.

    That’s right, it is different. The former is 2 celebs telling the straight public about themselves, for shit loads of money.

    There, fixed it for ya, Vic.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    I think telling people you’re not role models, is even more arrogant than telling people you are role models. Who gave either of these two the impression that anyone thought they were role models for anybody?

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    There’s no money in being a role model.

  • Drake

    @ Vic : That is a very bold and hateful statement directed at the writer of this post. You know you can make your point in a more diplomatic way. Here’s an example…

    What I’d like to say to you – “Hey, I don’t come down to the corner where you work and slap the cocks out of your mouth, so why don’t you give your fingers a rest and go back to your mundane existence of crunching numbers or clearing tables.”

    A more diplomatic way – “What does your hate filled rant actually accomplish? Do you feel better now that you got to an anonymously comment on a blog? Do you feel like a man? Have you ever been critized for a mistake you made at your job? How did you feel?
    If you don’t like Daniel’s post or this website, don’t read them, or go to, or better yet, read a book.

    But please refrain from clogging the comments with such hateful and angry and honestly, unattractive language.

  • sam

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones: Um… A lot of people?

    I’ve seen it on plenty of gay blogs and discussion sites and in other media. Don’t get whiny just because you’re too precious to handle a celebrity talking about their lives.

  • Kev C

    Funny, I never saw them as role models. Just celebrities. Sort of plastic and not too deep.

  • Garrett

    @Kev C: IMO, they are pretty deep. I think it’s better they don’t try to make everyone their biggest fan, since a lot of American celebrities are much too public about their lives.

  • FLL

    Role models? I thought there was a scandal with a dancer with one and the other has other sets of children? No thanks, I prefer celebs who keep their private lives private as life can get complicated.

  • val

    (@FLL WOW I’m so glad you said things about them that you obviously know nothing about!)

    There are so many negative,hateful comments on this page. So if people wonder why we does not have equality for all in this country? First see your self in the mirror before you judge others.

  • Mike

    @Drake: Your post is full of win. And I promise never to slap the cocks out of your mouth. :)

  • Chadboy

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones:

    I agree. By even venturing into this subject is presenting themselves in a subtle way as role models. Did a week pass where NPH didn’t get the attention he wanted? Isn’t there another soap star to attack on Twitter so he can remain relevant?

  • jeff4justice

    Fuck celebs like these guys and Dan Hayes, Lance Bass, and Adam Lambert that go so far out of there way to distance themselves form the LGBT community.

    The 84 year old lady activist who got pepper sprayed at an Occupy protest this week is a person of far more brave a hero than these cowards.

    But when groups like the LA LGBT Center or HRC or GLAAD wants to give them an award they’ll be there.

    The everyday person working to make things better for LGBTs (especially in small town, rural, suburb areas) are real heroes.

    It would be nice if more LGBT celebs worked to better things for disadvantaged LGBT areas the same way successful black celebs like Magic Johnson and Tavis Smiley give back to disadvantaged black neighborhoods.

  • o

    @Chadboy: Put down Revelation and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and you’ll stop thinking about subtlety like that.

  • Henry

    @jeff4justice: It’s more than a little likely that some of those celebrities are donating to gay-friendly efforts silently, or doing what they can behind the scenes to get things going. Their celebrity is actually not very effective, I believe, for social work. America has an unfortunate fear of behind the scenes work – a fear of darkness – a fear of Blackness – inherited from Christianity, which has always been and always will be a European religion. It may also be related (to a lesser extent) to the American obsession with popularity. There is no applause for a silent donation.

  • Dan

    Is that their round-about way of saying that since they haven’t bothered to get married, they have an open relationship or what? What kind of idiots announce they AREN’T role models unless something is really off. It is creepy. And why aren’t they role models? He was in a kid’s movie – The Smurfs. Is he telling hetero parents who buy that movie that gay parents aren’t role models? Very strange and creepy. Every parent is a role model to their kid; or are they skipping that part of being a parent? Creepy.

  • Mav

    I see them as role models and THEY CAN’T STOP ME. Hah~! But the best way to be a role model is to lead by example, as Harris and Burtka obviously know.

    I don’t see “I don’t want to be a soap box queen” and “I don’t want people to see me as a role model for the gay community” as equivocal statements.

    Based on the video he made for It Gets Better, I’d say Harris is a positive role model whether he likes it or not.

  • Cam

    Gee, what a shock, somebody on here insults the author and a random new account from somebody who has never made another comment shoes up with a spirited defense of the author.

    Be more honest if the author just did that under their own name.

    As for the subjects, they didn’t say they were role models, he said he cringes when people say that they themselves are a role model. I don’t get the vitriol.

  • Carl

    The best role models are the one’s who don’t want or see themselves that way, because that means they are A Normal Person, the best role model anyone could have. There’s a quote that seems appropriate here “Great men do not seek power, they have power thrust upon them.”

    Neil Patrick Harris is a role model because he lives, for a Hollywood celebrity, a normal life. He and David Burtka are a shining example that you can be gay, open and very very happy. Yes, he and his partner uses the media as a source of income and put their family out there, but is that really a bad thing? If they avoided the media completely, they would actually increase the focus upon them and their family by an order of magnitude – look at what happened to Michael Jackson and his children when he tried to hide them away. And that focus would likely be very, very homophobic (ie: “why won’t those gays let us see their kids, what are those gays doing to them?”). By tackling the media head on, they dictate the direction of the stories. It can be a dangerous game, many celebrities have tried it and failed, but in this case they appear to have pulled it off.

  • Red

    Please feel free to step away from the computer, go into the real world and become the star and the beacon of gayness for all of us. Then come back and tell me if everyone (gay and straight) agreed with every single thing you did or every move you made.

  • Drake

    @ Cam – You know what they say when you assume, but in this case you’re just making an ass out of yourself. It’s a good look for you, by the way.

  • ewe

    Not to worry. That was the furthest thing from my mind. I never considered them to be role models anyway. What in the hell are they talking about?

  • ewe

    Someone please tell them to buy another leather Pouffe and shut it.

  • ewe

    I think of him on the same level as that Home Alone kid Macaulay Culkin. Spare me this flipped out bullshit.

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