This week, Colton Haynes fired off a series of heated tweets about being gay in Hollywood, calling the industry "so f*cked up." "So much of the focus is on your personal life & has nothing to do with the talent you have to bring to the table," he wrote on Tuesday. There doesn't necessarily seem to be any sort of event precipitating the tweets — at least, not on the outside. But seeing as Colton came out last May in an Entertainment Weekly profile, it's highly likely he's faced his fair share of adversity in the time since. After all, the fact that it's difficult to be an out gay man or lesbian in Hollywood is no secret.
Plenty of stars have opened up about the huge stigma surrounding the LGBTQ+ community in Hollywood. Rock Hudson, who rose to fame in the '60s and died from AIDS-related causes in the '80s, never publicly came out because it was so controversial. According to Lee Garlington, who dated Hudson for a few years at the height of his fame, "Nobody in their right mind came out. It was career suicide. We all pretended to be straight."
"Nobody in their right mind came out. It was career suicide. We all pretended to be straight."
Ellen DeGeneres just celebrated the 20th anniversary of her sitcom's coming-out episode, which also marked her personal coming out. To honor the occasion, she spoke to her audience about how taboo it was, saying, "I can't describe to you how challenging it was to get this episode made. At the time, it was so controversial."
Now, in 2017, the stigma hasn't changed much at all. Amber Heard came out as bisexual in March despite revealing that "everyone around me strongly advised me against it." In 2016, Chiwetel Ejiofor posited that it might be harder to be gay in Hollywood than it is to be black in Hollywood. "I think sexuality is still marginalized in a way that is pretty open," he said in 2016.
So disappointed in how Hollywood cant understand that playing a character has nothing to do with how u live your personal life
— Colton Haynes (@ColtonLHaynes) August 30, 2017
In another tweet, Colton disparaged these same Hollywood tendencies, adding echoes to decades-old frustrations. At this point, it's clear Colton is joining the chorus of people who are hoping to speak out and change the way things work in Hollywood. Luckily for him, there are some strong allies on his side. In a second tweet, he went on: "Thank god for Ryan Murphy, Greg Berlanti, & Jeff Davis. They believe gay actors are more than just their personal lives." Colton is referring to the creators of American Horror Story, Arrow, and Teen Wolf, respectively, all of whom have cast him in various TV roles.
In the end, it might take more than forward-thinking and progressive directors to change the tides. We need more actors to come out in order to more actively normalize sexuality. As Amber put it, "If every gay man that I know personally came out in Hollywood tomorrow . . . then this would be a non-issue in a month. We'd be hard-pressed to point the finger at anyone."