Hands down, one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me career-wise was having a character I played in a webseries made into two gif sets by a random fan of the show. Someone found a way to extract footage online (not difficult, but still), downloaded it, cut out specific moments, added some captions, and then sent it off into the world-wide-web of opinions and pixels.
The webseries was called Kelsey, and in it I play a lesbian. The gif sets both show several moments of the main character, Kelsey, kissing my character, Joanne. When it was brought to my attention that these things existed, I immediately shared on Facebook because I mean like...c'mon! Usually the gif sets I see are of clever Jennifer Lawrence moments or Benedict Cumberbatch looking oh-so-handsome. This, while OBVIOUSLY nowhere near J-Law and B-Cum (haha ew) status, still felt like a tiny level of celebritydom. (Check them out here and here)
After sharing on social media, I had a few people mention how they could never share a picture of themselves making out with someone of the same sex. Some of my extended family, while supportive, found it a little...unsettling to see me in a show playing a lesbian.
I had never given it a second thought. There are lesbians in a large majority of some of what I find to be the best media nowadays. Orange is the New Black- BRILLIANT. Disney recently casually introduced a lesbian couple on television on Good Luck, Charlie. It was literally no big deal. I had played lesbian roles before on film, but none of those projects ever got as much attention as Kelsey.
I'm not trying to toot my own horn for being on the supportive side of the gay tracks – I definitely don't feel as if I've made some crazy statement by playing a lesbian either. I mean, it didn't take much to just...kiss a girl. It's just a girl. Sure, I was a little nervous for the kiss scenes, but only because it's really awkward being intimate with anyone when there is a camera just a few feet away and you don't really know the person you're suppose to be so infatuated with. That's when it becomes about trust - never about what kind of body parts a person has. If that's all a person can think about then they put way too much mystique around the human body.
I guess I just became desensitized because of all of the “crazy” lesbian action around me and forgot that some people may still feel bothered by that kind of stuff. Sometimes living in New York City makes you forget there is a world outside of this place.
I've never had to “come out” to anyone. I've never had to say “Mom, Dad, I have something to say. I like boys.” I hope one day having to announce the kind of people you like to sleep with will be as unnecessary as announcing your favorite sexual position. It won't matter, and saying it out loud would make for an uncomfortable family dinner in all the most appropriate ways. Ugh, I would NEVER casually bring up sex to my family. Unless there was a debate about gay rights. Because hell no am I going to let any members of my family get away with being a bigot. I love them too much to let that happen.
To some people, being gay is not a big deal and their families are supportive and everything is groovy. For other people, it's not like that at all. I was thinking on the subway the other day about how scary it really must be for some people to live as a gay person in today's world. Then I remembered a quote from a show my theater company produced last year – Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window: in response to his neighbor's plight on being a gay man in the 60's, the main character Sidney responds “It's just a different kind of sex.”
When it comes down to it, being gay just means enjoying a “different” (as in not heterosexual) kind of sex. Don't we all just enjoy a different/specific kind of sex? Or, what's wrong with liking all different kinds of sex? To me, being bisexual almost seems like a gift. On a bare-bones level, if you're someone who is capable of understanding what turns men and women on, and you enjoy making both feel good, that's impressive. Hats off to you! If you're someone who just enjoys sex with a man, or just with a woman, that's great too! If sex has no real appeal to you – keep on keeping it real. There is more to life than how often you get some and who you get it with.
You have two options when you live in a place as crowded and liberal as New York - hate everyone or love everyone. Once you realize that being an individual can be a really terrifying thing, you start to support those who live to the beat of their own heart. When you build that respect people will see it and recognize it, and you'll be part of a community that let's you express yourself without the fear of ever being completely alone.
I may not be gay, but I'll never have a problem playing gay on TV. If that makes some people uncomfortable, I'm really sad for them. We are headed towards a time of enlightenment because of where Earth is on its wobble, according to the Spirit Science videos I've been watching (check them out- SO interesting!) Perhaps this enlightenment starts by acknowledging that love is not defined by how your sex feels good but the connection you have with another soul. If you don't think that way, I fear that you may be on the slow side of evolution. You will be missed.
The video below conveniently went viral the day before I posted this blog. Perfect timing.