“I cannot tell you the number of young actors I know — some well known, some starting out — who are terrified their sexuality will be revealed and that it will stand in the way of their being cast in straight roles,” she told The Sunday Times. “Now that’s f**ked up.”
Winslet continued: “I’m telling you. A well-known actor just got an American agent and the agent said, ‘I understand you are bisexual. I wouldn’t publicize that,’” she said, adding that “It’s painful” for those who are forced to hide who they are. “Because they fear being found out. And that’s what they say. ‘I don’t want to be found out.’”
The Titanic star noted that she feels the stigma applies to “men more than anything” in the industry. “It’s bad news,” she said. “Hollywood has to drop that dated crap of, ‘Can he play straight because, apparently, he’s gay?’”
While speaking about her upcoming new film Ammonite — a romantic drama about British paleontologist Mary Anning (Winslet) and her rumored lover, Charlotte Murchison (Saorise Ronan) — Winslet feels that “a conversation about straight actors in gay roles is incredibly important.”
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The 45-year-old actress said she hopes “there will come a time when it is automatic that [gay] actors” will get openly gay roles and you won’t “have to put punchy film stars in to get” the films made.
As for what it will take to bring about that change in Hollywood, Winslet believes it will take “more people to speak the way I am,” adding that she doesn’t intend to “take on Hollywood,” but that the industry needs to find a way to “make it more open.” She also noted that there needs to be less “judgement, discrimination and homophobia.”
Homophobia in Hollywood is nothing new, and many female actresses have dealt with a similar experience. In 2019, Kristen Stewart revealed that bigwigs in the industry had encouraged her to keep her queerness on the down-low if she wanted to continue to get high-profile roles. "I have fully been told, 'If you just like do yourself a [favor], and don’t go out holding your girlfriend’s hand in public, you might get a Marvel movie,’” she told Harper's Bazaar.