Variety is shining a light on some of the biggest and best in LGBTQ talent Hollywood has to offer in its new “Power of Pride” issue.
Featured in the issue are Jim Parsons, Billy Eichner, Asia Kate Dillon, MJ Rodriguez, Don Lemon, and Hannah Gadsby.
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Speaking about the recent end of “The Big Bang Theory”, Parsons says, “No matter how successful you are, even if you’re a huge success in movies, you don’t get to check into the same parking space for 12 years. This is not how someone in a creative profession normally gets to behave. Most human beings crave that structure, so I can see how it causes some hurricanes in the heart.”
Parsons also talks about the strength he felt after coming out as gay publicly.
“Once it was out in the public, I was like, ‘Well, f**k you! If you still have a problem with gay people, you directly have a problem with me. Being a full-fledged member of it and claiming it, there was just an elation there, and there still is! I still feel it. It’s a huge relief, and it’s also really nice to sometimes be able to feel righteous anger,” he says.
Eichner, meanwhile, addresses the homophobia that still exists in the industry, recalling a producer who said he was okay with more gay characters but didn’t understand why those roles should go to gay actors.
“No one wants a world where a straight person has to play a straight person or a gay person has to play a gay person because part of the fun of acting is seeing someone become a character that they are not,” Eichner says. “The problem is that the playing field is not equal right now.”
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Dillon talks about their groundbreaking role as a non-binary actor on “Billions”.
“There’s a silver-lining aspect of ‘Billions’ being a teaching tool about gender identity that myself or my character might be a bridge toward understanding. I think understanding creates hope,” they say.
Speaking about the importance of Pride to them, Dillon says, “Pride to me means spending a lot of time in reflection of the people who came before, who blazed the trail that I have gotten to join. People like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera and James Baldwin… the queer people, trans women and people of colour in particular, who started the revolution long before I was born. I would not be here myself, visible, without their literal blood, sweat, and tears. Pride is about acknowledgment of the history that I’m a part of.”