For Christ’s sake, can we please stop talking about James Franco’s sexuality? I know that I’m further contributing to the conversation by writing this piece, but I have some valid points. I swear. The irony of my opening sentence is not lost on me.
Franco’s gayness and the ongoing game of ‘is he or isn’t he’ are in the news again this week thanks to an article published in the April 18 issue of New York Magazine. This is the quote that has everyone yapping:
“There is a bit of overfocusing on my sexuality, both by the straight press and the gay press, and so the first question is why do they care? Well, because I’m a celebrity, so I guess they care who I’m having sex with. But if your definition of gay and straight is who I sleep with, then I guess you could say I’m a gay c—k tease. It’s where my allegiance lies, where my sensibilities lie, how I define myself. Yeah, I’m a little gay, and there’s a gay James.”
So, he’s apparently a little gay. Thanks for not clearing that up, James.
This whole concept of leading a straight life while simultaneously being a gay artist seems like pretentious bullshit. Especially coming from an actor that skews so heavily gay in his work. Listen, whether he is or isn’t gay doesn’t really matter to me. If he is, I’ll proudly welcome him to the club. But if he’s not, then I wish he’d stop making it such a big part of his platform.
Remember that interview where his straight and gay selves had a conversation with each other? Or better yet, did you see Interior. Leather Bar.? You know, the fictitious documentary Franco made about recreating the rumored lost gay sex club footage from Al Pacino’s 1980 film, Cruising. It features lots of explicit gay sex, and Franco directed and produced the film. His case isn’t one in which he’s playing gay. Obviously, taking on a gay role does not make an actor gay. But when an actor’s passion projects revolve around gay subject matter and his real life includes no notable involvement in the LGBT movement, it strikes me as odd.
In the above quote, he notes that he’s been referred to as a gay cock tease, and he proudly admits it. But why is he doing it? There’s one of two scenarios here. He’s either afraid to come out of the closet and very publicly tiptoeing around the subject. Or he’s identified the value of his gay audience, and he’s pandering to them to stay involved in top quality projects and generate ticket sales. My fear is that it’s the latter.
And that’s why it annoys me. The fact that he’s continuously appropriating gay culture without knowing anything about what it’s really like to be gay. Without having to face any discrimination or difficulty in life because of it. You can’t just steal our sex and stories and attention without really being part of the community.
And furthermore, the celebrity witch hunt for gays is old hat, really. In an age where marriage equality is a real thing and we have much bigger battles to fight for our continued acceptance, coming out shouldn’t be headline news. But I get it. That headline sells. People will always care about who celebrities are sleeping with. But the media’s McCarthy-like preoccupation with exposing it is disgusting. Like the forced outing of Lilly Wachowski as transgender. She had to beat the media to releasing the story because they threatened to publish it without her consent. What was surely meant to be a very private experience and adjustment period was ruined for the sake of a potential viral article.
When it comes to Franco, let’s find something else to talk about. He needs to give us a performance so strong that we can’t help but ignore all this talk about his sexuality. I’m waiting…but uh, his upcoming film is about, you guessed it, the dark underbelly of the gay porn industry. I see…