Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-04-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWS Hoffman kept LGBTQ presence in movies
by Rev. Irene Monroe
2014-02-12

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Phillip Seymour Hoffman was inarguably one of the finest stage and screen actors of his generation. His dramatic and untimely death due to an apparent accidental heroin overdose leaves his fans not only shocked by how he died ( a hypodermic needle in his arm ), but also leaves us shocked in how his death now leaves us with an everlasting insatiable desire for more performances by him.

As a consummate performer, Hoffman's body of work adds up to more than 50 films in an acting career than began in 1991 with the little-known independently produced black-and-white film Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole. As a character actor, Hoffman portrayed a wide range of eccentric and motley characters, from his recent 2012 Broadway performance of Willy Loman—the protagonist in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, winning him a third Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Play—to his beginning years in 1992 in small roles in Leap of Faith and Scent of a Woman.

As a thespian who never shied away from challenging or controversial roles, what's not mentioned much or lauded in Hoffman's repertoire are the many gay-themed roles and movies he did at times that could have been a potential risk to his beginning career as a heterosexual man. Not known to be publicly out on LGBTQ rights like his straight colleagues in the business such as Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks and Robin Williams, to name a few, Hoffman, in his quiet and unassuming way and through his inimitable style, "brought nuance to LGBT roles throughout his career, elevating their status in popular cinema," Brian Klonoski wrote in "Why Phillip Seymour Hoffman was an LGBT hero."

"When I play somebody gay, I never think of it as 'I'm playing a gay character,'" Hoffman said in a 2005 interview with Out magazine. "It's interesting to play all the different aspects of the character. There's something else about the character that's pulling me there that I identify with. With Flawless, it's not that he was gay—I found it more interesting that he thought he was a woman. With Capote, it's the story that he had as an artist. And in Boogie Nights, he was so completely stunted I don't even think he knew his attractions were of a gay nature."

Long before Hoffman's 2005 biopic Capote won him the Oscar for best actor, he played gay characters before there wasn't any real significant sea change in attitude and acceptance of LGBTQ people as full citizens.

For example, in 1997, the year Hoffman portrayed Scotty—a gay boom operator in love with Dirk, a heterosexual cocaine and methamphetamine addict—in Boogie Nights, things were not looking too rosy for LGBTQ Americans.

Just the year before, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ), legally defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. And in 1997 while the Latin American country Ecuador had the good sense to decriminalize homosexuality, Florida's Constitution Review Committee, in a six-to-two vote, rejected adding LGBTQ sexual orientation as a criterion for protection in the state constitution.

In 1999, when Hoffman portrayed Freddie Miles in The Talented Mr. Ripley and Rusty, a flamboyant diva drag queen in the film Flawless, there still wasn't much acceptance of or protection for LGBTQ Americans. As a-matter of fact, discrimination against us, if intended to be on the down-low, couldn't stay in the closet because of the social stature of one particular person doing it.

An October 1999 issue of the Washington Times reported George W. Bush ensuring his homophobic and religiously conservative base that if elected president he would not "knowingly" appoint any LGBTQ persons as ambassadors or department heads in his administration.

And in the Texas case Littleton v. Prange that same year, the Fourth Court of Appeals ruled that a post-operative transgender woman remains legally male, and that her marriage to a biological male was invalid.

By 2005, when Capote was all the rage, a major change had occurred in terms of some LGBTQ civil rights. Massachusetts had become the first state to legalize same-sex marriages in 2003; also that year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that anti-sodomy laws were unconstitutional. And in 2005, the American Psychiatric Association voted at its annual convention to support government-recognized same-sex marriages. In addition, American Medical Association ( AMA ) President Edward Hill, MD, to the surprise of everyone, gave a keynote address to the delegates of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association ( GLMA ) acknowledging past anti-LGBTQ and unfair treatment of GLMA members and LGBTQ physicians by the AMA.

Visibility of LGBTQ characters portrayed in various medium and art forms assist in many ways our civil rights struggle.

In reflecting on Hoffman's short time with us, he may not have been a public advocate for LGBTQ rights, but I can't help but think that his many gay-themed roles and movies indeed helped our cause.

RIP


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Catholic LGBTQIs see mixed record in first five years of Francis papacy 2018-04-18 - Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, recently issued the following statement in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis: ...


Gay News

MLK's assassination reminds nation of gun violence 2018-04-11 - The 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination is, sadly, a searing reminder of unaddressed gun violence in the ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN How #METOO Becomes Culture Change; Tradeswomen and Sexual Harassment 2018-03-28 - From a speech at the Chicago Women's History Center Screening of Anita Hill: Speaking Truth to Power, Jan. 13, 2018. Like so many ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS Cardinal Cupich, Church and families 2018-03-28 - Cardinal Cupich says Church should learn from families. We hope it will learn from all families. In a recent address at the ...


Gay News

SENIOR MOMENTS Letter from Palm Springs 2018-03-28 - Never in a million years did I ever think that I'd go to a gym. It's so out of character that I ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS The Seasoned Life 2018-03-14 - You might find this hard to believe, but it's true. Before I came to earth I had already picked out my parents ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN For theater critics, diversity, cultural connection imperative 2018-03-07 - A few years ago, at a town hall addressing the controversy that arose over reviews of Steppenwolf's production of This Is Modern Art, ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS Billy Graham's ministry of LGBTQ intolerance 2018-03-07 - The Reverend William ( Billy ) Franklin Graham Jr. ( 1918-2018 ) has died at the age of 99. Too often, hagiographies are ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN My journey, my story 2018-02-28 - I honestly knew ever since I was able to speak that I was not like other little girls. However, I didn't understand why ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL My daily last straw 2018-02-28 - What exactly is the last straw? I thought it was the presidential buffoon's goading of North Korea, but I was wrong. Our government ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.