Matt Damon has gotten a bit of criticism for comments made to The Guardian about his thoughts about actors talking about their sexuality.
When asked whether it’s hard to be gay in Hollywood, Matt says, “I’m sure. When Ben and I first came on the scene there were rumours that we were gay because it was two guys who wrote a script together.”
He adds, “I know. It’s just like any piece of gossip… and it put us in a weird position of having to answer, you know what I mean? Which was then really deeply offensive. I don’t want to, like [imply] it’s some sort of disease – then it’s like I’m throwing my friends under the bus. But at the time, I remember thinking and saying, Rupert Everett was openly gay and this guy – more handsome than anybody, a classically trained actor – it’s tough to make the argument that he didn’t take a hit for being out.”
While he reckonsattitudes are changing, he still believes that, “I think it must be really hard for actors to be out publicly. But in terms of actors, I think you’re a better actor the less people know about you period. And sexuality is a huge part of that. Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.”
There is some logic to what Matt’s saying from his perspective, as while he’s married with kids, it’s not something he particularly taulks about or flaunts – indeed most people probably wouldn’t be able to tell you if he’s married or not. However what his comments miss is that there’s a difference between being private about your life, and feeling the need to actively hide or lie about who you’re dating/married to.
There are some complex issues here, partly due to the assumption of straightness and the salacious edge to gay rumours, but what Matt seems to miss is that him being private about his wife and kids is different from their existence actively being hidden. It also doesn’t help move us to a place where nobody cares which gender an actor dates, as despite that what he’s saying seems to treat gay and straight equally, it actually entrenches one as being superior to the other.