Gender Benders: 15 Actors Who Play Gay But Really Are Straight or Vice Versa (Are Their Roles Believable?)

Of course there’s no cookie cutter profile of a hetero or homosexual, so celebs are often cast into a role regardless of their real-life orientation. After all, it is called acting. Here we take a look at eight actors who have played gay characters but are really straight and vice versa. Check it out…

1. Tom Hanks in Philadelphia


In probably one of the most notable “straight playing gay” roles, Hanks expertly played Andrew Beckett in this Academy Award winning role. Tom even lost 30 pounds and thinned his hair out to portray the gay lawyer dying of AIDS who sues his firm for discrimination.


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  1. says:

    eric stonestreet from modern family and jesse tyler ferguson from the same show

  2. says:

    Cynthia Nicks was in relationships with men for a majority of her life. Her wife is actually the first woman she has been with. So I don’t really think it’s a stretch for her to play Miranda.

  3. says:

    David Hyde Pierce (Niles) from Frasier. He’s been with his partner for 20+ years & I had no clue.

  4. says:

    i just had to see your comment to realize he was straight in real life

  5. says:

    Nelson Ellis on True Blood.

  6. says:

    All the other men in To Wong Foo: Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, were good too.

  7. says:

    And Neil told Oprah he had trouble bonding with his paid for family? Gee, I wonder why. I’m concerned for the children, big time.

    • says:

      Don’t b concerned about THEIR kids!
      U have any? Be concerned about them!

    • says:

      Not bonding with a child is not all that uncommon. Some parents (mom & dad) are so emotionally traumatized by the experience of birthing a child that it takes a few days to recover. Then the bonding can begin.

  8. says:

    They’re not adopted! They are the biological children of both men in the relationship. Also, if you watched the show, he had trouble bonding when they were newborns. That’s not uncommon at all.

    • says:

      They’re twins . One is biologically related to each man, and they share a surrogate mother. So biologically they are half-siblings.

      • says:

        Wow! That’s amazing! Where science is taking us is going to be an interesting place.

      • says:

        They’re not twins. In order to be twins they’d have to have the same mother and father. they are half siblings who share the same birthday.

        • says:

          You might want to look up the definition of twin – A twin is one of two offspring produced in the same pregnancy. These two are both half siblings and fraternal twins.

    • says:

      The biological children of both men? You mean of each man? as in, one of each? in that case, each one may have adopted the other’s biological child. If they are the biological children of BOTH men, I think that would have been all over the news.

  9. says:

    I thought the same thing!

  10. says:

    They forgot Darren Criss who plays Blaine on Glee. He does a abosultley perfect job of playing a guy madly in love with Kurt!

    • says:

      Why does everyone think Darren Criss is straight? He’s not.

      • says:

        He’s had a girlfriend, Mia swier, for ages; he’s talked about his orientation openly in multiple interviews; he’s expressed countless times that if he were gay he would have absolutely no problem acknowledging it; and one of his most often-made points is that as a straight person he feels honored to play such a potentially important role to the LGBTQ community. That’s why.

  11. says:

    Ah, Noxeema Jackson, Jesse’s Daughter… You know, you have to give credit to all the actors in Too Wong Foo…, each one of them pulled it off with spectacular style and grace. RIP Ms. Vida Bohemme (Patrick Swayze)

    • says:

      They did indeed. Of the Three: Snipes, Leguizamo and Swayze, Patrick was the only one I thought had a chance of pulling it off. The three of them blew my mind. It is one of my all-time favorite movies.

      • says:

        I knew Leguizamo would do well. I’d seen some of his one-man shows where he did drag so well I started thinking of him as a woman. I was wonderfully surprised at the other two. And even my mom liked the movie, but she wasn’t crazy about Swayze. She said he looked better in a dress than she did. :)

      • says:

        Snipes didn’t work at all-no drag queen has arms like that…

        • says:

          LOL! You haven’t met enough drag queens then, Norman. Oh yes sir, there definitely ARE plenty o’ drag queens with arms like that. Part of the “messing” with expected gender roles that goes into being a drag queen (for a fair number of them anyway). Its not simply about trying to pass as a woman, it’s screwing with societal expectations. And a big macho dude in full makeup, wig and costume does that quite definitely.

          • says:

            met quite a few drag queens in los angeles-most are fat and chunky. Drag queens on Rupaul are usually slim with some chunkies. I have NEVER seen a buffed out drag queen-a REAL one anyway- and Ive seen dozens of drag shows. dressing in drag does not make someone a drag queen by the way-What city you in that has the queens with big arms?

    • says:

      if you have netflix, search for “Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”…it’s got Guy Pierce, Hugo Weaving, and Terrence Stamp from 1994. Came out prior to “To Wong Foo…” and IMHO, was a bit better between the costumes and premise of the film. I will say tho, Priscilla was much more “Aussie”, while 2 Wong Foo was more “American.”

  12. says:

    Michael C. Hall is straight but played a great role in “Six Feet Under” as David Fisher.

  13. says:

    You missed Ewan McGregor. (“Velvet Goldmine”, “The Pillow Book”, & “I Love You Phillip Morris”)

  14. says:

    Which character does Jonathan Groff play?

  15. says:

    Nelsan Ellis af LAyfayette in True Blood should have been on here.

  16. says:

    Russell Crowe in “Sum of Us”, Jennifer Beals “LWord”, Guy Pierce “Pricilla Queen of the Desert….Just to name a few….

  17. says:

    Did the actor kissing Cynthia Nixon think about that before giving her this kiss? Ugh.

    • says:

      That would be Blair Underwood

    • says:

      Why would that matter? What do you do with your mouth, and who would want to kiss you? Seems like you’re worried about nothing. I highly doubt that would matter to him or her as to whom they’ve kissed or done whatever with previously. Brush your teeth, act, get paid already!

    • says:

      what Puritan colony are you originally from and where did you hide your time machine?

  18. says:

    You missed Sarah Shahi on the L-Word. Great actress but is definitely straight…..

  19. says:

    They are NOT a “family” and he is most definitely not “married”. That’s the thing about “acting” it’s all pretend. Like we can PRETEND we’re “married”, we can PRETEND to be a “family”…ad nauseum. The truth is the truth and no amount of propaganda can change that.

    • says:

      You are right as rain, but you can tell that to these marriage pretenders. Very sad for what they may have a head of them.

      • says:

        Love within a family is never sad… Hate within you IS sad..

      • says:

        Maybe if you say the same rant often enough, it will be true for you. I’d rather see two gay people married who are committed to each other and whatever family they create than see two straight people get married for a weekend in Las Vegas or marry and cheat or marry and neglect or abuse the kids or whatever. And that happens a lot more often than two gay people getting married!

    • says:

      and you can pretend to be intelligent.

  20. says:

    the best: Heath and Jake

  21. says:

    Robin Williams in the BIRDCAGE!!!

  22. says:

    don’t forget Tyler Perry…..

  23. says:

    Don’t forget Tyler Perry

  24. says:

    Cynthia Nixon is playing married. That’s all it is and can ever be.

  25. says:

    He pretends to be married. Not possible in actuality.

  26. says:

    Matt Bomer from White Collar

  27. says:

    Yes, they definitely should have been mentioned!

  28. says:

    Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Flawless”. The guy was amazing in that role. He is such a diverse and talented actor.

  29. says:

    I believe I heard that Gale Harold is also straight.

  30. says:

    Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Broke Back Mountain.

  31. says:

    Obviously the author doesn’t know what the word “gender” means. Sad.

  32. says:

    Wait…seriously? I feel like a person would be smart enough not to out themselves so blatantly as bigoted. Then again, if you believe what you’ve written, it makes more sense

  33. says:

    Modern Family is stereotypical and offensive.

    • says:

      That’s why it’s called a sitcom – most sitcoms are stereotypical, and the unsuccessful ones are offensive to enough people that they get canceled.

  34. says:

    Clearly straight people are violent thugs. This sort of thing is why I’m armed and advise other queer people to do the same.

  35. says:

    You forgot Chris Gauthier in Eureka.

  36. says:

    There should be an honorable mention for every male actor (except Kelsey Grammer) on Frasier.

  37. says:

    Colin Firth in A Single Man

  38. says:

    Portia Di Rossi

  39. says:

    That’s just sick, and you call it beautiful?

    • says:

      It matters quite a bit. The break down of the “traditional family” is what is bringing this country to it’s destruction. Read a little history and you will find that many a great nation was brought to ruin once they accepted this perverted behavior as normal. In your twisted thinking this behavior is beautiful, but in truth It’s sick, twisted, immoral and just plain evil. You are what is wrong with this once great nation.

      • says:

        No, what’s bring America to its destruction is hate and bigotry.

      • says:

        “You are what is wrong with this once great nation.”
        Huh? Because there were no gay people 200 years ago?
        YOU are what is wrong with this great nation.

      • says:

        I think people who use the words “it’s/its” incorrectly are bringing this country to ITS destruction.

  40. says:

    Who’s left out? How about all of the women?

  41. says:

    Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) played a gay character named Ashley in the TV show Sirens. I thought he did great job, very believable.

  42. says:

    Darren Criss (Blaine on Glee) is actually straight, too.

  43. says:

    Despite this article’s misleading title, I hope we all know gender is completely independent of sexual orientation. And gender expression is another separate factor that might be conflated in our culture’s system of binary genderism. Don’t let it confuse you :D

    • says:

      I still don’t want to know. You can say it several times, with slightly different wording, but you’re not fooling anybody, cabaƱa boy.

  44. says:

    Rock Hudson! lol

  45. says:

    There is one that I can truly think of…. Philip Charles Mackenzie, who played Donald Maltby on the old 1984-1989 Showtime series “Brothers”

  46. says:

    what about Tom Cruise and John Travolta?

  47. says:

    I recently caught a rerun episode of “Monk” in which Stonestreet plays a rugged small-town mechanic. He does such a great job of acting across the spectrum!

  48. says:

    Don’t forget about Darren Criss from Glee!! He plays gay BEAUTIFULLY and so tastefully. Makes me fall in love with him every week!

  49. says:

    William Hurt in ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

  50. says:

    You left out Darren Criss from “Glee” and Sean Maher from “Firefly.”

  51. says:

    Matt Bomer from White Collar? No mention? :(

  52. says:

    My thoughts exactly

  53. says:

    Matt Bomer. He plays Neil Caffery in White Collar.

  54. says:

    I immediately thought of Matt Bomber who stars in White Collar on USA Network. Very convincing as playboy Neil just as NPH is as Barney.

  55. says:

    What, no love for Hugo Weaving’s amazing performance as Mitzi del Bra in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert?!

  56. says:

    LOL someone’s ultra-sensitive

  57. says:

    Robert Pattinson in “LIttle Ashes”.

  58. says:

    Why did you bother to look then? Go back into your cave or under your rock.

  59. says:

    Harvey Milk pedo. Sean Penn Wacko.

    • says:

      Interesting – are you saying Harvey Milk was having relationships with underaged men? I don’t think that has appeared in anything I have read about him. Are you personally aware of this? And, Sean Penn is such an amazing actor you think he is a wacko. Isn’t that cool?

      • says:

        Sean Penn’s award winning acting comes when he plays himself, an idiot. He’s a dictator hugging jackass. Harvey Milk another wackjob.

  60. says:

    As Sir Laurence would say “That’s why they call it acting, Dustin.”

  61. says:

    Wow, nothing from Oz?

  62. says:

    I picked up on that locution as well–words have impact; it’s not being hyper-sensitive to think one should pay a little more attention to one’s choice of words–“acknowledged” would have been better.

    • says:

      acknowledged would not have made any sense at all….NPH acknowledged that he was gay? really? there is a host of words that would have made a better choice than confessed but acknowledged is certainly not one of them.

  63. says:

    Hal Sparks!!

  64. says:

    Wow. Days and days of people pointing out that this isn’t “gender bending” – and Styleblazer hasn’t even bothered to fix it?

  65. says:

    how did willem dafoe get skipped for his role in boondock saints!!!!! and yes he is straight but he was awesome in that movie as the gay fbi agent

  66. says:

    I found one person of the minority who wasn’t offended, therefore it must not be offensive.


  67. says:

    I really don’t care to know. Bend your own gender if you want…

  68. says:

    Screw Tom hanks. His career is over.

  69. says:

    Darren Criss as Blaine Anderson….or maybe Darren as himself…lol…

  70. says:

    Agreed, that ad really sucks, whatever it is for!

    • says:

      get flashblock for firefox or chrome it works really well and keeps all those dumb flash ads from playing, i didnt even know there were ads on this page xD

      • says:

        Or AdBlock Plus (Beta) – don’t worry, it’s not buggy – for Chrome. I didn’t even know something was supposed to be playing, I can’t even find the add that’s bugging y’all. (And Noxeema ROCKS!!!)

  71. says:

    For some of these I didn’t know whether either the character or the actor/actress were straight or gay, and you didn’t even say, so I still don’t know. Well written article – Not!

  72. says:

    Absolutely ridiculous site. Littered with self-playing advertisements that play over, and over, and over, each time you visit a page. NEVER COMING BACK to this sh1t site again. GOOD RIDDANCE.

  73. says:

    They left out Al Pacino in “Cruising”

  74. says:

    I loved Robin Williams in the Birdcage! All of them were great in to Wong Foo! And then of course, I haven’t gotten over White Collar’s Matt Bomer (like he was going to marry me anyway!!!). I really think, an actor is an actor and a good one can play either orientation.

  75. says:

    I can’t believe no one mentioned Ian McKellen. Best gay actor ever.

  76. says:

    Jon Leguizamo in Too Wong Foo…You forget its him!

  77. says:

    How coyuld you leave out the original- Billy Chrystal on Soap?

  78. says:

    im pissed that I have to click through every effing page when this list could easily be condensed into 1-3 pages tops.

  79. says:

    Why is this called “Gender Benders” ? This is an interesting topic on actor sexuality, but it has nothing to do with gender.

  80. says:

    I only made it halfway through, with all the ads loading and that video starting to play every time, the rest of the slideshow is hardly worth it. You people have the patience of saints!

  81. says:

    Michael T Weiss played a straight guy in “The Pretender” but was more believable kissing men in “Jeffrey”

  82. says:

    This site is now the new MySpace website. So many ads, pop-up videos, irritating colors, etc. It looks like a teenager designed it. Horrible. Will never return.

  83. says:

    Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhal in Brokeback Mountain. Guy Pearce in The Adventures of Priscilla the Queen of the Desert. Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo in To Wong Foo. Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation.

  84. says:

    Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny in Boys Don’t Cry. Meredith Baxter on Family Ties. Kelly McGillis in Top Gun.

    • says:

      Well, to be fair, Meredith and Kelly were in relationships/marriages with men when they were in “Family Ties” and TOP GUN, respectively.

  85. says:

    is this the best you could do?! what a lame website…and yeah, all these annoying videos are – um, ANNOYING!!

  86. says:

    Uh, just because two men kissing on screen are both gay in real life doesn’t make the kiss any more real than any other two actors kissing. There are plenty of examples of men and women who played lovers on screen, and didn’t even like each other in real life. Then you have couples like Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor who had genuine love for each other for many years, even if they were never lovers, and also had many on-screen kisses– and looked very passionate when they did.

  87. says:

    How could you miss Gale Harold on Queer As Folk?

  88. says:

    I agree with the ad that keeps running everytime I click on anything or switch pages. I’ve never been on this site before and will never go on it again…INCREDIBLY annoying !!!!

  89. says:

    they mean that some of the people in the list dress in drag.. they have women who play straight, women who play gay, men who play straight/gay, and then there are men who dress like women where their ROLES ARE BELIEVABLE.. come on guys noone can be this dumb. if you see Wesley Snipes in drag… you know thats the part of the GENDER BEDERS part of the title.

    • says:

      That should have been a separate article then, because “Gender Benders” does not apply to the entire article. FOR EXAMPLE, Tom Hanks is not bending his gender to play another male that dresses as male, he’s just changing his apparent sexuality for the role. While noble and awesome of him, it does not qualify as “gender bending”.

      Gender bending would include drag, yes, but it would also include actors acting as another gender for the movie, in whole or in part. Like Mrs. Doubtfire, for example, Robin Williams dresses as a woman for a large portion of the film. I can’t think of an example other than the live Peter Pan I watched as I child, where a woman played Peter, that would be a man or woman acting as what most people would deem the “opposite” gender. I won’t get into politics about them not being opposites as it does not lend to the purpose of this comment.

      My boyfriend just noted that the acting in “Boys Don’t Cry” would count as gender bending because a woman plays a transman. I just haven’t seen the movie so I didn’t think of it.

  90. says:

    Matt Bomer also should have been in this article!!

  91. says:

    How could you leave out James Franco from Milk? Utterly as convincing as Sean Penn, possibly more. And Cynthia Nixon shouldn’t really count as gay playing straight–she’s dated men and it’s not clear if she even had a relationship with a woman until SITC was in syndication.

  92. says:

    Also Wondering conducted his own survey last year, don’t you know.

  93. says:

    What about oldies like Randolph Scott from all those cowboy movies and Rock Hudson from all those romantic comedies with Doris Day, etc.?

  94. says:

    You completely forgot Stephen Fry in his many roles. He was the first who came to my mind. How could you leave him out?

  95. says:

    Believable? Of course not!

    Just look at the Lord of the Rings movies. They had to spoil it by using humans instead of real Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits, Orcs, Nazgul, and Wizards!

    • says:

      You wouldn’t classify Elijah Wood as a hobbit? Have you ever seen him? Five foot nothin’ (IMDB is beyond wrong). I’ve seen him in person – he’s shorter than me (I’m 5’2″)!

  96. says:

    I liked this article right up to the point where they stated NPH “confessed he was indeed a homosexual”. (A) it’s not a crime, and (B) come ON everyone knew he was gay. Jaysus.

  97. says:

    Um, hello? What about John Gielgud? Or Rock Hudson? And Ian McKellan? And a great big chunk of the Frasier cast?

  98. says:

    David Hyde Pierce – Niles Crane on Frasier.

  99. says:

    I find that the actors who do best in their swapped identities are those who are secure in their own reality. Richard Burton and Rex Harrison (who could be more hetero?) in STAIRCASE, Peter Finch in SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY and THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE. This seems to be true in real life too, secure men are not homophobic, insecure men very often are!

  100. says:

    No. Confess as in “declare.” For example, for a Christian to confess faith in Christ. A perfectly legitimate use of the word.

  101. says:

    I cannot believe you dont have Hank Azaris who played Agador the flaming gay house boy in Birdcage. That is my favortie performance. He was awesome!

  102. says:

    The cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from The Matrix), Guy Pearce (Memento, The Proposition) & Terence Stamp (General Zod from Superman II).

  103. says:

    Stanley Tucci. Hottie and straight :)

  104. says:

    It’s called acting, stupid!

  105. says:

    That’s bull, pal.

  106. says:

    Richard Harris or Michael Gambon, who both played Albus Dumbledore.

  107. says:

    Gale Harold from queer as folk!!!

  108. says:

    connor paolo

  109. says:

    You might want to learn what “gender bender” actually means.

  110. says:

    How about Gale Harold of recently The Secret Circle and others but mostly of Queer as Folk? He is scrumptious!!

  111. says:

    “Gay” has nothing to do with “gender.” Your headline betrays your ignorance.

  112. says:

    What about amazing and straight Darren Criss who plays gay student “Blaine Anderson” on Glee?

  113. says:

    Robin Williams in The Birdcage, for sure. And where’s Darren Criss?! Blaine is a great character, and half of one of tv’s most popular gay couples, and he’s straight in real life.

  114. says:

    What about Flip Wilson as Geraldine? Or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in that movie “Be Cool”? That was funny. But I don’t like these lists, they don’t include a lot of other actors like that dude from “White Collar”…whats up with that?

  115. says:

    George Carlin played Barbara Streisand’s gay neighbor in Prince of Tides. Greg Kinnear played Jack Nicholson’s gay neighbor in As Good As It Gets.

  116. says:

    You forgot most if not all the cast of “Queer as Folk”. I knew Scott Lowell (Ted Schmidt) personally and he is definitely not gay.

  117. says:

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Mysterius Skin. So excellent.

  118. says:

    Matt Bomer is one of the men who could have made this list and I find it amusing that the focus seemed to be on “Straight actors playing gay”, and that most were the “flaming stereotypes”. Acting is acting and the WHOLE point is being someone you are not.

    Other personal fav … Gale Harold (NO ONE ever played a more believable character),

  119. says:

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote anyone?

  120. says:

    we need a spell checker, my page jumped all over the place, and i missed some words here…….arrrrrg! ,( no offense to pirates).

  121. says:

    It really would have helped if the article had mentioned whether Michael K. Williams or his character was gay!

  122. says:

    Sorry, but I’m a big westerns fan! John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood, etc, etc. I’m not saying there were never gay cowboys, but, that image is just gross!! Brokeback Mountain was NOT about gay cowboys, those guys were sheep farmers!! Something no respectable COWBOY would ever be!!

  123. says:

    Hey! What about Patrick Swazey (sp?) in “To Wong Foo…” or Kevin Kline and Tom Sellic in “In and Out”? Kline and Sellic actually kissed on screen! Both those movies were really funny and great performances by straight actors!

  124. says:

    Umm, Charlie Hunnam in Queer as Folk, now Jax Teller, what a range!

  125. says:

    Darren Criss. Plays such a believable gay character that people have a hard time believing he’s hetero.

  126. says:

    It’s annoying beyond belief.

  127. says:

    It is called ACTING people! You don’t have to be gay to play a gay character, just like you don’t have to be murderer or drug addict to play one of those.

  128. says:

    Sid. Sid is that you, Sid?

  129. says:

    Hey, wait, you forgot Tom Cruise. Oh wait, he hasn’t been outed yet . . . except by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson when they produced him in Top Gun.

  130. says:

    Jeffrey Wright from Angels in America

  131. says:

    Does this mean Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is not really related to Danny DeVito?

  132. says:

    The most obvious one you missed was Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry”–outstanding performance (and good work by Chloe Sevigny too).

  133. says:

    What the H E double Hockey sticks does Obama’s comments have to do with this? Doesn’t tell me anything about the actor…. If I wanted to know Ocrapma’s comments I’d read his speeches!

  134. says:

    Billy Crystal in Soap. He was among the first straight actor to play a gay character in a tv series and did it brilliantly.

    And the comment below is quite right. It is called acting.

  135. says:

    Where’s the trailblazer, BIlly Crystal as Jodie Dallas on Soap in the 70’s?

    • says:

      Actually, the real trailblazers were Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon. No one did drag better!

      And let’s not forget the second greatest line in the movie: When Curtis asks why would a man marry another man, Lemon replies “Security!

      Of course, the greatest line is also the greatest last line of all time!

  136. says:

    Uhmmm, a gay man playing a straight man, or vice-versa, isn’t gender bending, if both the actor and the character identify as being male. Same with women/lesbians. Words matter.

  137. says:

    Priscilla Queen of the Desert with Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp and Hugo Weaving not mentioned? Sad.

  138. says:

    Michael Caine and Christopher Reeves in “Deathtrap” even a gay kiss. Also Raymond Burr played an iconic character for years in “Perry Mason” at the same time living with his partner Robert Benevides.

  139. says:

    Not one actor from RENT? Hello?!?! And the movie Connie and Carla, and Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire! What a performance, I would have believed it. And next time, get a better title, this is not all gender-bending, much of this is sexual orientation bending.

  140. says:

    missed: Hugo Weaving and Terrence Stamp in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert….come on now…

  141. says:

    missed: Hugo Weaving and Terrence Stamp in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert….come on now…

  142. says:

    Isn’t Sean Penn really gay?

  143. says:

    Michael C Hall, Hall Sparks,Tom Selleck. And, OMG I didn’t know that Hank Azaris played the gay house boy in Birdcage! He was fabulous! Now he should go on the list, too!

  144. says:

    I can’t believe that they left off Patrick Swayze off the list. He was the star of “To Wong Foo…” and they listed both Wesley and John L. Why leave Patrick out of it? He was outstanding in that film!

  145. says:

    It’s funny that you think you might have had a chance if he were straight :D

  146. says:

    I don’t think that Guy Pearce is gay.

  147. says:

    OMG, seriously, you left off Colin Firth in the Single Man!! Shame on you…

  148. says:

    I found Matt Damon very convincing in ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’. And very creepy. But you should be careful how these actors are presented. There is a middle aged woman in Podunk who’s worried about Kelsey Grammer turning gay because he was in ‘La Cage’

  149. says:

    Rupert Everett is gay, but has played many straight romantic roles.

  150. says:

    Eric Stonestreet isn’t gay?

  151. says:

    Also, The Rock on Be Cool.

  152. says:

    A few omissions: Hank Azaria and Robin Williams in the Birdcage, Ed Harris in The Hours, Greg Kinnear and Cuba Gooding, Jr. in As Good As It Gets, and Julianne Moore and Annette Bening in The Kids Are Alright.

  153. says:

    You forgot to mention going down on the bat pole.

  154. says:

    Portraying a gay character one time in a movie is different from playing a gay character long-term over the duration of a series.

  155. says:

    Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,

  156. says:

    Are Omar from the Wire and Ving Rhames straight? I’ve heard that both were bi in real life.

  157. says:

    I’m shocked we still care about this. Jeez.

  158. says:

    bottom line straight or gay who cares lets focus on the terrorists sorry but seems like you people have to much time on your hands. They were all acting and did a good job now move on

  159. says:

    NPH is the man

  160. says:

    You forgot the actors of “The Crying Game” and Robin Williams of “The Bird Cage.”

  161. says:

    You missed william defoe in boondock saints!!!

  162. says:

    What about Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck in “in and out” Or Robin Williams in Birdcage. Or the late great Patrick Swayze In Too Wong Foo!! You need more than 15 I guess

  163. says:

    John Mahoney also played a gay character (along with Dean Cain and Zach Braff) in the movie “The Broken Hearts Club”. GREAT movie!!

  164. says:

    Neil Patrick Harris “confessed” he was homosexual. Nice choice of words, idiot.

  165. says:

    What about Kevin Spacey in American Beauty? (not sure if someone already mentioned it)

  166. says:

    A man playing a man is not a “gender bender”.

  167. says:

    How could you miss Darren Criss from Glee??

  168. says:

    What would have been the chance that John Wayne would have portrayed a gay on the screen ? Answer: None ! No one on the face of this earth would/could have persuaded him to do so, no matter how much money was offered. John Wayne had principle, today’s actors do not !

  169. says:

    And what about John Lithgow in “The world According To Garp.” Brilliantly done….

  170. says:

    And Zachary Quinto? You Cannot Forget Him….

  171. says:


  172. says:

    non gay to gay is easy but most Gay actors whine about being Gay so much that I just can’t make the leap.

  173. says:

    Nobody cares.

    • says:

      Yeah, Wasp, and you’re “normal.”

    • says:

      No wasp, we really don’t care to hear about, or have to accept that your queer and what you do with your little pecker does NOT interest us at all. so you have your rights, I have to be nice to you and not discriminate against you. Thats IT! I do not have to support you, understand you or even like you… Isn’t America great. Now go back in the closest before I puke……

  174. says:

    Where is Sean Hayes? You really pick Eric McCormick over him? I thought for years Sean was ACTUALLY gay.

  175. says:

    At one time actor’s were supposed to ACT ! Now with POLITICAL CORRECTNESS only blacks ( read African hyphen etc. ) can play blacks. The same goes with gays, Indians ( of both stripes), women or any other ethnic origin ! No wonder no one goes to the movies any more !

  176. says:

    All part of the gay agenda. They want male, female and gay to be standard… much like their other nonsense words “equality” “born this way” and the worst of all “homophobe” which actually means “fear or gays.” Stupid.

    • says:

      Ooh you are a creepy little dude, aren’t you? How long until you show up on the news after eating a bunch of neighborhood children’s skin?

    • says:

      We got one, it’s jackass.

    • says:

      The term you’re looking for is “heterosexist.” The problem is that only people who study LGBTQ topics and are interested in this stuff actually use it.

    • says:

      And what, pray tell, is the “straight” agenda then? To force everyone to conform to your idea of what’s “right”? (Namely, an obsession with how other people live their lives, and insecurity about the value of your own. That’s the only reason I can see for you having performance issues over the fact gays exist, and want to be treated equally under the law.)

  177. says:

    You’re sick and gross. Completely and thoroughly.

  178. says:

    Everyone is rumored to be gay… to gays.

  179. says:

    Neither is. Stop hating on straight people.

  180. says:

    Why are gay actors not playing these gay roles? Other groups have been upset with people costumed up to play native americans or blacks.

  181. says:

    #3 is ridiculous. Is the actor gay playing a straight felon, or straight playing a gay felon? I don’t assume an armed robber is automatically straight.

  182. says:

    So, actors can pretend to be someone they are not. Amazing!

  183. says:

    Wow. They chose Eric McCormack (Will) over Sean Hayes (Jack) of Will and Grace??

  184. says:

    what about the actor who plays Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory? He`s gay in real life but he plays straight on the show, even has a girlfriend named Amy.

  185. says:

    What about Christian Borle in Smash?

  186. says:

    Neil Patrick Harris “confessed” to being a homosexual? “Confessed” as in, it’s a crime? Maybe he acknowledged that he was gay. This is really poor writing.

  187. says:

    Renoly Santiago as the cross-dressing criminal on Con Air.

  188. says:

    They forgot Tom Cruise in Top Gun and Risky Business – he pretended to be straight in those roles. He pretended to be straight in that reality show with Katie Holmes too.

  189. says:

    Sonja Sohn off The Wire

  190. says:

    Matt Bomer from white collar should be here

  191. says:

    A bit crudely stated, however.

  192. says:

    What about Tom Cruise? He seems totally straight in all of his movies!

  193. says:

    THANK YOU! That’s what I came here to say. I thought it was going to be about people who played trans or drag characters (Alex Skarsgard, Patrick Swayze, Dot Jones, Hillary Swank, e.g.).

  194. says:

    I’m more convinced by Wayne Brady’s swap in HIMYM than I am Neil Patrick Harris’. Also, Blaine from gLee (but not so much the other 4 swappers: Sue, Brittany, Santana, or once again, the character played by NPH)

  195. says:

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Flawless!!

  196. says:

    Still trying to figure out the gender bending part…playing gay doesn’t bend your gender. Like Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry or Cillian Murphy in Breakfast on Pluto would count more than any of these. Or even Linda Hunt in The Year Of Living Dangerously.

  197. says:

    mike brady (robert reed) did a good job fooling me until the day he died
    …rock hudson too

  198. says:

    What about arguably the most famous gay/straight actor – Rock Hudson? Or Raymond Burr (Perry Mason) or even Meredith Baxter from Family Ties? All gay in real life.

  199. says:

    Wow! Good call

  200. says:

    Not to mention Niles in real life – (Frasier is my all time fave show btw)

  201. says:

    Jonathan Groff was in Glee and on Broadway playing a straight guy, but he’s gay and his role is completely believable!

  202. says:

    alyson hannigan in buffy?

  203. says:

    What about Jim Carry and Ewin McGregor in “I Love You, Phillip Morris,” Robert Carlyle in “Priest,” or Lee Tergesen and Christopher Meloni in HBO’s “Oz.”

  204. says:


  205. says:

    I can’t believe they didn’t include Duane “The Rock” Johnson in “Be Cool” the sequel to “Get Shorty”. His performance saved that movie (especially when I realized it was him!)

  206. says:

    Gael Garcia Bernal!!!

  207. says:

    Think one the characters you missed was Nelle Porter from Ally McBeal played by Portia de Rossi. Also I hate that ad playing on the side. Annoying to have to mute it every time I changed pages.

  208. says:

    Bird cage -Hank Azaria or Robin Williams

  209. says:

    Guillermo Diaz definitely deserves a nod!

  210. says:

    Why is an article about homosexuality and heterosexuality called ‘gender benders’? That would be more appropriate for an article about actors who played characters of the opposite gender or transsexuals, and even then the term isn’t particualy nice.

  211. says:

    Jim Parsons in “Big Bang Theory” is gay and plays straight, though some of his moments as Sheldon show him as being a bit “prissy.” However, in the show, he has a girlfriend.

  212. says:

    I don’t understand why the gay guys are often portrayed as being crossdresser. These are two COMPLETELY differently, and do not often over lap. More strait men crossdress than gay men.

  213. says:

    It’s not “gender-bending” to play a different sexual orientation. Come on now.

  214. says:

    Totally agree. That definitely should have been included!

  215. says:

    What about Matt Bomer on White Collar. (Gay playing straight.)

  216. says:

    Matt Bomer from White Collar ! He’s gay but his role in the show (Neal) is straight . LOVE HIM ! ((:

  217. says:

    your the idiot drew

  218. says:

    jane lynch is gay

  219. says:

    wow someones full of themselves

  220. says:

    How could you forget Darren Criss, who plays Blaine Anderson on Glee? One of the most famous gays of the modern era, and I had no idea he was straight until he said so! Such a talent!

  221. says:

    Darren Criss on Glee! Jonathan Groff in Spring Awakening and Glee!

  222. says:

    You forgot Darren Criss, a straight actor who portrays the young gay highschooler Blaine Anderson on Glee!

  223. says:

    Matt Bomer in White Collar. How could you miss Matt Bomer?!

  224. says:

    I have to leave because of it. Too bad some of the comments were interesting but it is annoying beyond belief

  225. says:

    This article is about “sexual orientation bending” and not “gender bending”. Those are 2 totally different things.

  226. says:

    Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory. His character, Sheldon, is almost asexual, but IRL, Jim has been with his partner for about 10 years. You would never get the impression that he is gay, based solely on his role on TBBT.
    Michael Clarke Duncan – from The Green Mile, Armeggedon, Daredevil, has also played a few gay characters.

  227. says:

    Um Matt Bomer anyone? Neal Caffrey is a pimp with the women lol

  228. says:

    Lafayette?? From True Blood!?!?! He’s NOT GAY?? Holy crap!!!!! He’s like the gay best friend everyone wants!

  229. says:

    Calling Eric Stonestreet “one-half of the ‘Modern Family'” is a gross mislabeling. The entire family – the Pritchetts, the Dunphys and the Tucker-Pritchett family – make up the “modern family” referred to in the show’s title, because (with the exception of the nuclear family the Dunphys) the families are extended and blended families, with Jay being the patriarch (father to Claire and Mitchell) who is married to Gloria Delgado-Pritchett who has a son, Manny Delgado, from a previous marriage. Jay’s son Mitchell Pritchett is in a partnership with Cameron Tucker, who have a daughter they adopted from Vietnam, Lily Tucker-Pritchett. Add in the Dunphys – Claire, husband Phil, and kids Luke, Alex and Hayley – and Cameron Tucker is only 1/11 of the “Modern Family”.

    Thought you ought to know. =3

  230. says:

    Darren Criss, who plays Blaine on Glee should be on the list. He plays a gay guy, but is straight in real life. He is an amazing actor.

  231. says:

    Matt Bomer in White Collar!!!

  232. says:

    Thomas Gibson as Beauchamp Day in “Tales of the City” and as David in “Love and Human Remains.” Holy cow, that’s Aaron Hotchner from Criminal Minds?

  233. says:

    This list is missing Gale Harold as Brian Kinney on Queer as Folk!

  234. says:

    you dont hafta be gay to go to a gay club. ive been to a gay club a couple times, n im straight as an arrow!!

  235. says:

    Theres a NoBama statement alright! bravo

  236. says:

    Who writes this stuff? A good number of these don’t even say who is gay and who isn’t. Meh.

  237. says:

    gay cowboys still incite snickering lol

  238. says:

    What does the term GENDER BENDER have to do with a man being gay?
    Are you suggesting all gay men want to be women?
    What 5th grader wrote the headline and article.
    A gay male is still male.

  239. says:

    your writer doesn’t understand what ‘gender’ means.

  240. says:

    This website sucks. These stupid autoplay ads are annoying, and the fact that you literally have to go thru 10 pages to see the 8 people they are talking about is a sad. Re-affirm my belief that Black folks can’t do nothing right.

  241. says:

    Robin Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The Birdcage”

  242. says:

    Oh yeah, u are sooo right! I had forgotten about most of the actors you mentioned. Way to go!

  243. says:

    You missed Darren Criss (who is straight) and he plays Blaine (gay student) on Glee.

  244. says:

    Matt Bomer on White Collar is a gay man playing straight.

  245. says:

    You forgot Greg Kinnear and Cuba Goding Jr. in As Good As It Gets, as well as Davd Hyde Pierce and Dan Butler on Frsier.

  246. says:

    Why no Patrick Swayze from To Wong Fo???

  247. says:

    This isn’t gender bending. Gender = playing a different gender. WAAAY different than “acting gay” or “acting straight”.

  248. says:

    Jeffrey Wright in Angles in America is, to me, the best job a straight man has done playing a gay man.

  249. says:

    Forgetting Sacha Baron Cohen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hes straight, married to Isla Fisher, but he portrayed gay austrian celebrity Bruno

  250. says:

    Guy Pearce (The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Hugo Weaving (The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and Terrance Stamp (The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert)

  251. says:

    This article isn’t about gender, it’s about sexual orientation. They’re totally different things…. Guys, this really isn’t rocket science. Please get it right.

  252. says:

    some of these (the actor from the wire) don’t even say whether they’re gay or straight in real life . writers and editors: maybe check the title every time you write and make sure you’re addressing the issue in the title before posting.

  253. says:

    You missed a good one. In Flawless, Phillip Seymore Hoffman plays a Drag Queen but he’s straight.

  254. says:

    Charlize Theron is AWESOME in Monster. It’s mind boggling how unattractive she is. Christina Ricci does and excellent job also of course!

  255. says:


  256. says:

    That’s funny…Jake Gyllenhall….let’s just say I don’t think his acting in Broke Back Mountain was a stretch for him…from what I’ve heard. lol

  257. says:

    I love the performances you’ve mentioned, but many of them were playing straight characters in drag. Totally agree with you re: Patrick Swayze and Felicity Huffman, tho! (didn’t see Albert Nobbs).

  258. says:

    How exactly is playing gay “gender bending”? Do you actually know what “gender” means?

  259. says:

    You know, you can fit more information on one page, and save people from clicking through 15 pages with two lines of text on each page. Gross.

  260. says:

    This? A really bad website design. Like others, I won’t return here. Way too tedious.

  261. says:

    what about Cillian Murphy in Breakfast in Pluto?

  262. says:

    Considering that her ‘partner’, Christine Marinoni, looks just like a man, it probably wasn’t that hard to fake it.

  263. says:

    Ah, you missed a lot! There were a ton more straight women playing gay in the L Word and what’s with totally missing Queer As Folk??? You also missed The Birdcage, The Kids Are Alright, Six Feed Under, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Glee (which has both straight actors playing gay and Jane Lynch playing straight), numerous soap operas, some lesser-known gay movies and tv shows that I don’t blame you for missing, and probably a lot of other stuff I’m missing. You should also look up a list of gay actors and actresses because basically all of them have had to play straight at some point in their career. A couple that come to mind are Portia De Rossi and Rupert Everett. The problem with making a list like this is that it happens so frequently that gay roles are played by straight actors and gay actors have to play straight roles. I agree with other posters that a more interesting list would be actual “Gender Benders” who had to play drag or another gender.

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  265. says:

    Yup! Also, Jane Lynch is gay but plays straight on the show. And Santana and Britney are both straight in real life. Don’t forget the ladies ;)

  266. says:

    Only a heterosexual would consider it remarkable that a gay person could play it straight or vice-versa. What’s next? A list of actors playing murderers and bank robbers who have never killed or robbed anyone in real life?

  267. says:

    bradley cooper and eric dane in valentine’s day

  268. says:


  269. says:

    I cry every time I watch Brokeback Mountain.

  270. says:

    What about Matt Bomer on White Collar? Handsome, debonair, straight con man – played by a handsome, debonair, married gay man.

  271. says:

    NPH plays the best straight guy (for a gay guy.)

  272. says:

    For those of us who have yet to view “The Wire”, who are not especially familiar with the actor Michael K. Williams, and who see no conclusive inferences to be drawn from the accompanying photograph, it seems an oversight for the article not to mention whether the Omar Little character, or actor Michael K. Williams, is gay.

  273. says:

    Because itthe destruction of procreating

    • says:

      Really? You’re so personally insecure that the mere existence of gays and lesbians gives you performance issues? That’s the only thing I can think of that stops you from procreating. (That and the probable fact that sane and intelligent women won’t have anything to do with you. Gotta stop those stupid genes from infecting the next generation.)

  274. says:

    You forgot Patrick Swayze in To Wong Foo. He was awesome in that movie!

  275. says:

    Out of all of these picks… Charlize hands down is the most astounding. She morphed into a completely different human being. She so deserved the Acadamy Award on this one.

  276. says:

    Matthew Rhys in Brothers & Sisters as gay lawyer and then Senator McAllister’s communications director. Great performance!

  277. says:

    Guy Pearce in “The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert”.

  278. says:

    Sad not to see Cillian Murphy’s performance in “Breakfast on Pluto” not listed. I mean, come on, he received a Golden Globe nom for it!

  279. says:

    You often see the word “convincing” used when a gay actor plays a heterosexual–but rarely when it’s the reverse–despite the fact that I have seen several actors either not seem gay at all (Ed Harris in The Hours), or just play it really badly where no matter how well-intentioned they were , it comes off looking like a minstrel act (Jason Alexander in Love! Valour! Compassion!) It’s not easy.

  280. says:

    And a lot of people (both gay and non-) are already cringing in anticipation of Michael Douglas as Liberace–a real life human being who has NO BUSINESS being portrayed by a heterosexual. (Despite the fact that the closeted entertainer would have loved being portrayed AS heterosexual, what is likely to appear in the HBO telefilm is a mocking caricature and insult to his memory, try as MD might.)

  281. says:

    Not to mention that drag queens are not considered gay nor straight

  282. says:

    Darren Criss as Gay Blaine Anderson!

  283. says:

    Nelsan Ellis is AMAZING as Lafayette in True Blood. Caught a glimpse of him in The Help as the soda jerk…looking forward to seeing more of his work!

  284. says:

    Absolutely agree. I don’t come to this site to be inundated by ads that I don’t want to see or self-starting videos. It takes forever for each page to load because of all the extra garbage. Clean it up SB…it sucks, and when the site sucks, hits start going down

  285. says:

    NPH “confessed” to being gay? You mean, like a criminal would confess to a crime? Really??? Holy crap, what a homophobic article.

  286. says:

    What about Michael C. Hall? While on Six feet Under?

  287. says:

    You left out Matt Bomer who is gay but plays the straight character of Neal Caffery on White Collar.

  288. says:

    I can’t believe Jim Carrey isn’t on here for “I love you Phillip Morris”!!! That movie was great–and based off a true story none the less.

  289. says:


  290. says:

    minorities all seemed to dress up in drag… hmmm

  291. says:

    You included Wesley Snipes and John Leguizam but omitted the wonderful Patrick Swayze in your mention of To Wong Foo–How could you leave out his hilariously sensitive portrayal the incredible, compassionate Vida Boheme?

  292. says:

    “was as awing”…..what? You people need a new editor. I’m available and could help you until you graduate from high school.

  293. says:

    MATT BOMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3

  294. says:

    ROBIN WILLIAMS in birdcage – should have been #1 !!!

  295. says:

    How can you forget Matt Bomer? Even knowing he is gay, his portrayal of Neal in White Collar still has me swooning daily!

  296. says:

    Matt Bomer from USA’s White Collar and Magic Mike. I’d never guess he was actually gay!

  297. says:

    John Travolta in Hairspray!

  298. says:

    WAT. Gender and sexuality are two completely different things. They’re not gender-bending if they’re gay-playing-straight or straight-playing gay, they’re exactly what i just said.

  299. says:

    Nelsan Ellis is SO convincing on True Blood and he my favorite cast member!

  300. says:

    Matt Bommer and Darrin Criss

  301. says:

    Darren Kriss as Blaine Anderson

  302. says:

    Tom Selleck is gay

  303. says:

    How about Matt Bomer?

  304. says:

    really wesley snipes and the other dude from too wong fu but not patrick swayze hellllllllooooooo

  305. says:

    ian mckellen as magneto and gandalf ^^

  306. says:

    Of course it’s not believable. Look at how The Lord of the Rings was ruined by the failure to cast real Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits, Nazgul, and Orcs!

    • says:

      Makes you wonder if the producers knew something we didn’t when they cast Anthony Hopkins to play Hannibal Lector.

  307. says:

    Playing gay or straight is not gender bender.

  308. says:

    So many misses!!! Patrick Swayze and Robin Williams in ‘To Wong Foo’, Robin Williams in ‘The Birdcage’ and Hank Azaria (as Agador) in ‘The Birdcage’ was brilliant.

  309. says:

    You left out Michael C. Hall in Six Feet Under. He’s so good and straight in real life.

  310. says:

    Cynthia Nixon is Bi I’ve heard and was still married to a man when playing Miranda so not that big of a stretch.

  311. says:

    Why is this names Gender Benders? What has sexuality got to do with gender?

  312. says:

    you are hilarious!!! the funniest part is your “94%” percentile (of President Obama’s staff that’s gay)! And you mentioned Rahm Emanuel twice. So, does that mean Emanuel is REALLY gay?

  313. says:

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