Fleabag star Andrew Scott: Don't call me 'openly' gay

"It implies a defiance I don't feel."


Words: Will Stroude

Andrew Scott says he has a problem with being described as 'openly' gay.

The Fleabag star, 42, revealed his dislike of the word in an interview with GQ magazine, saying it implies that to be honest about your sexuality remains an act of "defiance" which goes against the norm.

"You're never described as openly gay at a party", Scott said. 'This is my openly gay friend Darren', 'She's openly Irish'.

"It implies a defiance I don't feel."

Here at Attitude, our policy is to only use the word 'openly' if it implies that other LGBTQ people may have existed that we don't know about - ie, 'the first openly gay actor to play this role' - but not to use it as a descriptor for a person, given that it's a word which has its roots in generations of gay shame and cultural oppression.


Meanwhile, Scott, whose crackling onscreen chemistry with Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge drew widespread acclaim after he joined the BBC comedy drama as 'The Priest' earlier this year, also dismissed the outdated notion that LGBTQ actor can't play straight roles.

"Sexuality isn't something you can cultivate, particularly," he said. "It isn't a talent... You believe the relationship, that's my job."

Scott, who shot to fame as Moriarty in BBC's Sherlock before finding big screen success in films like Pride and Spectre, opened up about his journey towards coming out in a 2014 interview with Attitude, saying the experience had been "really lovely".

"I think I've been very, very, very lucky", he said at the time. "I say this from a place of happiness and contentment now but at the time I didn't know what way it was going to be.

"Of course I was scared. We are talking about years and years ago now. It’s not even in this century."

Of his then-growing status in Hollywood, he said: "The best thing I can do to represent and be a positive influence on somebody, is to be as good at my job as I can possibly be.

"People are scared that others will just see them as a gay person – but if you say ‘here I am, I’m an actor, that’s part of who I am. I can play all these parts,’ well that’s what’s freeing."