Have you ever noticed how much praise heterosexual actors get when they play gay characters in movies and on television? Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, but it's always amazed me that homosexual actors don't get the same recognition for playing straight characters. People are always sort of surprised and amazed, as if they can't even fathom how someone can be gay and still “pull off” acting straight. They seem amazed that it's believable – but it is. Here is just a small sampling of the wonderful, talented, beautiful men and women who have managed it.
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Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris is more than a little phenomenal. Once known for playing boy genius Doogie Howser, he's now known for bringing debonair, charismatic, witty, and womanizing Barney Stinson to life.
I mean, Hodor's straight, right? Hodor, hodor, hodor!
Oh, Jane Lynch, you gorgeous goddess, you. When you're as awesome as Jane Lynch, you just need to show up. She could play opposite a cardboard box and I would still watch with enthusiasm.
Do you know why I love Cynthia Nixon? Because she's bisexual and she's not ashamed of it – and like all the other brilliant actors on this list, she doesn't let her sexuality define her job.
Jim needs to be in more things. This face needs to be everywhere. Also, no one will ever do awkward quite like him. Sheldon forever!
Jodie is Jodie. She does her job like her sexual preferences are irrelevant – because they are. They don't matter. The talent matters.
Ditto with Sara, with whom I've been in love since the 1990s. Back when Darlene and David were the It Couple.
David Hyde Pierce
I'm not going to say Niles Crane was hot … but I'm not going to say he wasn't, either.
Has anyone seen Ellen's new travel show, by the way? She's on a mission and I'm a fan of it.
Matt Bomer is proof that your sexuality isn't a box or a wall or a definition. This man is so smoking hot that he couldn't be anything but a leading man.
Portia De Rossi
I think you only need to take a look at the way she's steaming up the set of Scandal to see how “believable” she is when she plays it straight.
Well. I mean. There was that one really bad movie she was in with Bill Pullman, but I think everybody's forgiven her that dark, weird film because she's Ellen.
Didn't know Huck, your favorite resident B613 psycho, was gay? That's the point. The other point is that Guillermo is ten different kinds of beautiful.
Wentworth Miller is leading man material, too. I love him for several reasons, not in the least because he challenges hurtful stereotypes about what gay men actually look like. So many of the actors here do.
Jonathan's talents are many. I gotta be honest, though, I wasn't a huge fan of his Glee arc. I know, I know, I'm sorry.
Lily Tomlin eats stereotypes for breakfast. She is quite possibly a unicorn. Everyone needs more Lily in their lives.
Say what you will about Raven, but she's aced every role she's ever played.
Sarah Paulson's real life love story is my whole life right now. On the screen, though, she's steamy and sexy and powerful no matter who plays opposite her. I mean, she even made Marcia Clark sexy.
I actually wish Rosie was in more movies. A League of Their Own, anyone?
Hold on, I got distracted by all the adorable.
What can I say about Sir Ian? What can anyone say? He's an institution, an inspiration, a thespian whose talent cannot be boxed in by anything, let alone a little thing like sexual preference.
In addition to being the most popular man on the internet, not to mention a philanthropist, a strong LGBTQIA+ advocate, and a thoughtful commentator, George rose to fame playing Hikaru Sulu on the very first Star Trek. He's kind of a big deal.
T. R. Knight
George O'Malley remains one of my favorite characters on Grey's Anatomy, to the point where I still cry when I think about his death. T. R. plays awkward and unsure and nerdy like a master. No wonder he was able to make Callie, Izzie, and Lexie fall for him.
Zachary's turns in the American Horror Story franchise speak for his talents. He transitions seamlessly between characters and his acting chops are so on point that he's always believable. Even when he's playing a creeptastic serial killer.
This is actually a little sad. Famed for playing Mike Brady, Robert Reed was never comfortable or open about his sexuality.
All hail Wanda! Wanda Sykes needs to be my best friend. Needless to say, she slays everything, from acting roles to stand up.
Do any of these names surprise you?
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