Adam Polaski

Trailblazer Campaign Encourages Closeted Gay Actors

Filed By Adam Polaski | June 05, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Belinda Carlisle, coming out of the closet, gay actors, It Gets Better, Matt Montgomery, Morgan Mason, steve callahan

callahanmontgomery.jpgA new viral video project is looking to recreate the success of the It Gets Better campaign by calling on actors, musicians, and other Hollywood stars to record a coming-out video and encourage their peers in the entertainment industry to follow suit. The project - the Trailblazer Campaign - is the brainchild of James Duke Mason, an aspiring actor and son of Belinda Carlisle, singer and former frontwoman of The Go-Go's, and Morgan Mason, a former politician.

Earlier this week a new video was added to the project by Matthew Montgomery and Steve Callahan, two actors who recently got engaged. In the video, Callahan explains why he and Montgomery think the Trailblazer Campaign is important.

People always ask us would our career be different if we were in the closet. The point is, it doesn't matter. I think it's important for each person to live an authentic and happy life, and there's really no way to do that if you're hiding who you are. I would like us to come to a point where Hollywood no longer gets that pass. People are always saying, 'Oh, he couldn't have come out of that closet, he's an actor, she's an actress.' Hollywood doesn't get a pass anymore.

The Trailblazer Campaign launched in April with a video from Mason. The 18-year-old actor, who was recently selected as one of The Advocate's Forty Under 40 for his other LGBT advocacy work, explained more about his campaign:

What should, by now, have become an outdated relic of the past, still rings true today. There is still a tremendous stigma in Hollywood when it comes to being an openly gay man or woman. While significant progress has been made as of late, there are still so many people who are living a lie and putting up a facade for the public - more than anyone can ever really imagine. And while it is true that it will be tough for that to change, the fact remains that it can be done.

The campaign has so far attracted little support and only a handful of videos from actors like Callahan and Montgomery, who boast resumes full of movies that haven't hit the mainstream. The lack of success, it seems, is only proving the point of the campaign: that famous people have been conditioned to hide their sexuality if it's not hetero.

Queerty has the most interesting take on the issue that I've seen - why are we obsessed with labeling celebrities and forcing them into one-or-the-other situations? On the LGBT blog, Nick Feather writes a fitting call to action:

We wouldn't mind seeing more mystery, not less, when it comes to movie stars' private lives, so perhaps a better campaign would be to encourage more actors to be ambiguous about their sexuality, thereby leveling the playing field.

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