Sunday, 23 March 2008

Six Degrees of Homophobia

There’s a famous game one can play, called Six Degree’s of Kevin Bacon, in which you name a person from the world of film, and then attempt to link that person to the actor Kevin Bacon in six or less goes. For example, Alfred Hitchcock to Kevin Bacon could read as follows; Alfred -> Sean Connery (Marnie) -> Nicholas Cage (The Rock) -> Elizabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas) -> Kevin Bacon (Hollow Man). And so on.

When I’ve been working and on set, however, there seems to be a different game being played by members of the crew – let’s call it ‘Three Degrees of Gay’. The rules are simple, name an actor, any actor, and see how quickly you can get a member of the crew to mention that the actor is homosexual. Points are gained for speed, for naming an actor that isn’t otherwise famous for having been labelled a closeted homosexual in the past and for how tenuous a link they can create.

I have yet to work on a job where someone doesn’t drop in the line “oh him, he’s gay. I’ve got a [friend/work colleague/masseuse/rigger/grip/camera assistant etc etc] who he tried it on with/knows someone he tried it on with”.

Most recently this routine was bypassed, in obviously a poor play by a rank amateur when a group of us was talking about an Oscar winner now famously playing a super-spy in a very successful frenetic franchise, and a runner called out “My friend f***ed him!”

For form alone, I awarded him no points.

The fear with homosexuality that lives in the world of film selling (you can’t be gay unless you’re old or flamboyant, and then you can only play wizards or flamboyants, in fact it’s probably best that you’re just old and then we’ll get some ‘straight’ actor to camp it up and that will sell easier). It seems amazingly like society is taking two steps back for every one we strive forward sometimes.

Don’t get me started on Football and it’s hang-ups with black players/managers, homosexuality, women, etc etc etc.

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