Straight up

Straight actor defends playing gay, says no one knows ‘the amount of discrimination I have faced’

Men looking deeply into each other's eyes

Takaya Honda and Matt Wilson play boyfriends on the beloved Australian soap Neighbours. Over the weekend, they made an appearance at Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, where they greeted fans and answered questions from media.

Afterwards, 31-year-old Honda, who is straight, took to Instagram to address the question he gets asked far more often than he would like.

“We get asked, more often than I think we should, ‘what’s it like to play a gay character as a straight actor, do you find it difficult?'” he wrote.

“Our jobs as actors is to communicate a story by adopting the lives of the characters we play. Who they are attracted to is only one part of who they are. Everyone understands love and most have an intimate understanding of what true romantic love is.”

Honda went on to say that there is “no degree of difficulty added” simply because a character is gay.

“This is our job and we work bloody hard to do it the best we can,” he wrote, “with the hope of honoring the story we have been given the responsibility of telling.”

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We get asked, more often than I think we should, “what’s it like to play a gay character as a straight actor, do you find it difficult?”. Firstly, who could find it hard to play gay opposite this incredible man? Secondly, #LoveisLove, our jobs, as actors is to communicate a story by adopting the lives of the characters we play. Who they are attracted to is only one part of who they are. Everyone understands love and most have an intimate understanding of what true romantic love is. The task we are given is to evoke within the audience that feeling of love and have them believe that we are in love, and that would go whether our characters were gay, straight or other. There is no degree of difficulty added because these characters are gay. This is our job and we work bloody hard to do it the best we can – with the hope of honoring the story we have been given the responsibility of telling. Finally, the love I felt last night at @sydneymardigras was overwhelming and that love filled energy had no sexuality or gender. Love is universal and transcends boundaries. I hope that the love between David and Aaron feels real for you all and that as that love grows and is tested that @mattywilson and I continue to make you believe in #Daaron #?? #???? #?? #mardigras2019 #love #everyoneiswelcomeonramsaystreet @neighbours Thanks @rubymchaffie for the ?

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But not everyone seemed to agree with the actor’s stance.

One commenter responded: “How about we put real gay and queer people first and not someone who has not ever faces [sic] a struggle.”

To which Honda responded by doubling down on his position.

“I hope I no one is ever asked their sexuality for a casting, it would be completely inappropriate and an awful practice that would likely have dire negative, not positive, effects,” he said.

“You continue to say that I have not experienced discrimination, you do not know my story nor the amount of discrimination I have faced, and I do not need to qualify this for you.”

What is your opinion on straight actors playing gay roles? And what do you think of Honda’s response? Sound off in the comments section below…