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Welcome to the an industry where more and more straight men are going Gay4Pay. Curiously, there are a disproportionate percentage of men working in gay porn who identify as straight. Why would a straight man do gay porn? Why is there such keen interest and debate into the sexuality and personal lives of these men? And what does it say about us, the viewer, that so much of gay porn is dominated by images of straight men?
- [Narrator] Over the past century of western cinema, we've seen a steady increase in representation of LGBTQ characters, but there's long been a taboo against playing these roles, for fear of being typecast. In the 1950s to 1970s, it could be a career killer to play gay, and few actors or studios were willing to take the risk. Most examples we have were either studio films where the queer characters were villainized or independent ventures by boundary-pushing filmmakers. In the 1980s, films with gay storylines were often indistinguishable from activism, and often reflected characters coming to terms with new HIV transmission and AIDS. In the 1990s and 2000s, a curious change began to take place. A-list Hollywood actors began to selectively play gay characters.
- Didn't you have an obligation to tell your employer you had this dreaded deadly infectious disease?
- That's not the point.
- [Narrator] These were most often straight-identified men who were lauded with praise for tackling brave roles. That word, brave, has always struck a chord with me and most often, a dissonant one.
- No, since Jeffrey and I split up, there's nobody I really wanna take. It was great meeting you.
- Same here. Is that guy gay?
- Yeah, what about it?
- Nothing, I'm just not used to seeing somebody so upfront about it.
- [Narrator] Why for a straight man who is an actor, who makes believe for a living, is it brave to take on a gay role? What is it about exploring the idea of love, intimacy and sexual excitement causes a wall of fear to be thrown up, a wall so high that only the most courageous would attempt to climb? In 2005, I was cast in a gay sudsy drama, Dante's Cove. The show received its highest praise when given the tagline, a guilty pleasure. It belonged in that it's so bad, it's good world of best watched drunk television. So there I was, the only out gay actor on the flagship show of the first gay television network in the USA. I repeat, the only out gay actor on the show, at least for the first season.
- They wouldn't know about us.
- Yes, they would, and I don't wanna hide it. Why should I?
- [Narrator] Suddenly, the tides were shifting. Everyone wanted a gay role on their resume. It was now a badge of honor for straight actors to play gay, and many wanted to join the ranks of Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Brad Pitt, Eric McCormack, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. The floodgates were open and it was exciting, but still confounding to chat with straight actors at auditions who would say things like, "Oh, yeah, I play a serial killer, so why not gay?" Today, it seems we've finally reached the point where it's no longer breaking news when an actor tackles a queer role, regardless of their personal stated or still often unstated sexuality. Intrigue has refocused online into the world of pornography. Curiously, there is a disproportionate percentage of men working in gay porn who identify as straight. Why would a straight man do gay porn? What motivates him to try this or make a career out of it? Why is there such keen interest and debate into the sexuality and personal lives of these men? And what does it say about us, the viewer, that so much of gay porn is dominated by images of straight men? Are there shades of internalized homophobia emerging? Why might we be turned off if the man on screen looks, sounds or behaves in a way that is identifiably queer? To try and answer some of these questions, we interviewed men from some of the most popular and prolific studios, which fetishize straight men. I spoke with gay performers about their experiences working with straight guys, and we hit the streets to test the curiosity and opinions of the public. Welcome to the curious, surprising and always outspoken world of straight men who go gay for pay.