What’s always the first clue that an up-and-coming TV star might be gay?
A) They submit to a splashy feature story in Out magazine, complete with a sexy layout,
B) They decline to discuss whether they’re gay or straight.
Sure, there have been plenty of Out stories that feature straight folks that are gay allies, but aren’t nine out of ten straight actors who make it big playing gay characters, when asked about their orientation, quick to admit that they’re not gay? (Case in point: We all knew from the beginning that Will & Grace‘s Eric McCormack was straight, but Sean Hayes remained tight-lipped about it for over a decade, annoying many of his fans — some of whom never forgave him.)
Jack Falahee, who plays sexy gay law student Connor Walsh on the hit show How to Get Away with Murder, has made quite a splash on the series, appearing in some oft-discussed, highly graphic man-on-man sex scenes (the sort that Billy Crystal doesn’t want to see too much of). As fans of the show, we love how comfortable his character is with his sexuality and how said sexuality is handled by the other characters — either as a non-issue or with a big thumbs up (when he seduces a sexy bad guy as a way of getting information).
Falahee, however, is evidently less comfortable. When asked straight-out by Out whether he’s gay or straight, his answer is slick:
‘I don’t think answering who I’m sleeping with accomplishes anything other than quenching the thirst of curiosity. And moreover, it seems reductive. It’s been really interesting to be in the middle of the industry’s fascination with the individual, because I never thought about that growing up or when I was at acting school. No matter how I answer, someone will say, “No, that’s not true.”’
We get it: It’s your first big break as an actor and you’re afraid that coming out at this stage might fuck it up. But we also think the truth is more than likely revealed by your reluctance to discuss it.
And finding out this way saddens us.
This is not meant to be a condemnation of Falahee. In fact, we love him. We just think the Sean Hayes response is so two decades ago.
Later in the article, he says, “I really hope that — if not in my lifetime, my children’s lifetime — this won’t be a question, that we won’t need this.” Which is certainly a nice sentiment. But rather than wishing the question didn’t exist, we’d prefer it if the answer simply didn’t matter. Which it clearly does to Falahee.
But we’re getting there. Slowly.