When did straight actors start playing gay for pay?
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 ‘gay4pay’ 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 villains or independent ventures by boundary-pushing filmmakers. In the 1980s, films with gay story lines 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. And it wasn’t about playing gay for pay. Playing gay was associated with a new adjective – brave.
Curiously, there is a disproportionate percentage of men working in gay porn who identify as straight. Why would a straight man do gay4pay 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 identifiable 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. Performers like Will Braun, Dennis West, and Justin Bryant Adams. I also spoke with gay performers like Eddie Stone, Brent Everett, Alex Mecum, and Diego Sans about their experiences working with straight guys.
We also hit the streets of Toronto and San Diego 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.