I want to take this time to talk about our dear friend James Franco. The actor has an upcoming movie, King Cobra, which is based on the real life murder of a gay porn star. Franco is well known for his "obsession" with playing gay characters and telling gay stories, however, this begs the question, are these really his stories to tell?
Franco has received negative criticism regarding the role, stating that the he is taking roles from gay men and how Hollywood has a persisting problem with giving gay roles to straight actors and trans roles to cis actors. Now, the question regarding Franco's sexuality is a mystery, I know that sexuality is not necessarily just gay vs. straight. However, the actor says he is gay in his art and straight in his life. This is what bugs me and leads me believe the actor is doing more harm than help to the gay community. First of all, he treats sexuality as some sort of persona that he can just freely put on when he wants to be "artistic," but that's just not how it works. I just don't think the whole Gay/Straight James thing is equivalent of an alter ego, which is what he's playing it out to be.
Also, because actors like Franco are worshiped and praised my the media for breaking down barriers by taking on gay roles. They are seen as brave because they are "confident" enough in their sexuality to play such a role. However, there are plenty of actual gay actors who are capable of taking on roles to tell their own stories. It's a problem when straight cis actors get credit for contributing to more "representation." This is a false sense of representation though, because while there may be more gay characters that are being portrayed on screen there is still a lack of gay actors, and this notion of diversity and inclusion is fed to the audience.