It wasn't even five years ago, that being gay could mean career suicide. But more and more male stars are leaving the safety of the closet. Just in 2013 we've had Wentworth Miller, Matt Dallas and Ben Whishaw come out proudly. While there are some male actors that will neither confirm, nor deny their sexual preference. Which seems to make them even more popular in the mainstream.
James Franco has consistently kept the media on its toes. In 2010 he told The Advocate he is not gay. Then in 2011 Franco said perhaps he was gay to Entertainment Weekly. Add to that his portrayal of many gay characters in movies, some of which he even produced. This year Franco announced he wished he were gay at his celebrity roast. Later he posted several photos of him kissing another man. All of this 'is he or isn't he' speculation has not hurt his standing in Hollywood. Not one bit.
Then we have Jake Gyllenhaal who has been dogged by rumors about his sexuality. Rather than try to quash them, he welcomes them. He recently appeared on Inside the Actors Studio, and said gay speculation about him is a huge compliment.
Joel McHale, star of the NBC series Community, sees speculation about his sexuality flattering. Seeing absolutely no problem being labeled gay. McHale doesn't understand why people would get so upset when they are questioned about their sexuality.
"I always find it really weird when guys flip out over someone thinking they might be gay," McHale said. "If a guy gets offended by that, there's something's wrong with him. I take it as a compliment."
But there are other male actors who refuse to comment on their sexuality at all. Joseph Gordon-Levitt for one says, "That would be really tacky -- they would win if I had to clarify"
George Clooney has been accused of having a succession of women beard for him. All in an effort to hide the fact he is gay. In response Clooney told The Advocate "I think it's funny, but the last thing you'll ever see me do is jump up and down, saying, 'These are lies!' That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community. I'm not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing."
On the flip side you have old Hollywood threatening legal action if any hint of homosexuality is even suggested. John Travolta is just one example of a number of veteran actors that deny being gay. But will being gay really hurt someone's acting career? Until we see more actors come out of the closet, only time will tell.