Monday, 14 December 2015

The Danish Girl: The Straight Man

For years, I was accommodating when it came to my sexuality. I didn’t feel particularly gay, but I was half-pretty and boyish, and a lot of gay people seemed to have very influential positions in the theatre. So I went along with it, up to a point. And I liked the attention. Any port in a storm, as they say. Quite soon this affected the parts I got. I graduated from restoration fops to actual gay people. To date, I have pretended to be about 11 different gay men and one gay woman, essentially for financial gain. Some of the men were really straight, but I played them gay, because eventually I couldn’t help it. I could probably have paid for half of a quite modest central London one-bedroom flat on the proceeds of my work as a homosexual impersonator. Well, good for me. It’s been marvellous.

I suppose if there’s a point to any of this, it’s that you can play around with notions of your identity, you can impersonate other people and it can be fun, but the moment you start to suggest that your actual identity is up for grabs — well that’s something else entirely. If it’s simply that the media exposure is allowing previously marginalised people to come out of the shadows and discuss something without shame, then that’s great. Bring it on. The fact that it’s fashionable doesn’t necessarily make it worthless...

Tom Hollander writes for The Spectator.

He takes as his starting point the reaction to Eddie Redmayne playing a trans woman in The Danish Girl.

He'll probably get another Oscar for it.

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