Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman is changing the landscape for LGBT actors in Hollywood.
The All Stars 3 heartthrob revealed in Attitude’s brand-new June issue how an acting studio in Los Angeles contacted him to ask him to coach gay actors to “present as straight”
He said: “The BGB Studio, an acting school in LA, contacted me and said they’d seen my work and the interviews I’d done.
“They’d had numerous phone calls from different managers and agents in Los Angeles asking if they could help their gay actors present as straight – to change their mannerisms or the cadence of their voice, or whatever.
“They never accepted those requests because it’s just so absurd, but they thought that our beliefs aligned and that there was an opportunity to encourage other young actors to be their queer selves and ultimately challenge the industry’s status quo.”
Jeffrey is now involved in a scholarship for LGBT+ people of colour in Hollywood and he said he wants children to relate to people they see on movie screens.
“Once again, it had everything to do with me making the choice to be open about my sexuality and not apologise for who I am, and to speak about my wish for kids to be able to turn on their television and see somebody who looks like them, somebody who behaves like them and moves like them,” he added.
“We see more gay characters being written into TV shows and films, but so often they are played by straight actors.
“I think it’s important for a story to be told truthfully and from the source, for people within the LGBT+ community to be given an opportunity to tell the story for themselves.”
Jeffrey – who also stars in the hit TV show UnREAL – has starred as both straight and gay characters and believes it is because he has never been in the closet since he first came out when he was 12.
He said: “In the entertainment industry, it was always very much a conscious decision on my part to just always be out.
“I started acting when I was 21, and I played a gay character in my first movie.
“Since then, I’ve been able to play gay and straight characters, but I’ve always found more enjoyment and much more power in playing the gay ones, especially if they’re well written.
“When I first started acting, my agent made it very clear to me that if I did choose to be out, and primarily to go for gay roles, I wouldn’t work as consistently as my straight counterparts.
“Ten years ago there weren’t as many gay roles being written, or thoughtful portrayals of gay characters in television and films, but I had faith that one day there would be, and I was proved right.”
Read Jeffrey’s full interview in Attitude's new-look June issue, which comes with two cover stars featuring Troye Sivan and Sir Ian McKellen.