Tom Hanks: could I play gay now? No, and rightly so.

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks, who won an Oscar for playing a gay man dying of AIDS in Philadelphia, says he could not play gay now.

Speaking to the New York Times to promote the new Elvis Presley biopic, Hanks described both Philadelphia and Forrest Gump as ‘timely movies, at the time, that you might not be able to make now’.

Tom Hanks won Oscars for lead roles in both movies.

“Let’s address ‘Could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now?’

“No, and rightly so.

“The whole point of Philadelphia was don’t be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man. We’re beyond that now, and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy.”

“It’s not a crime. It’s not boohoo, that someone would say we are going to demand more of a movie in the modern realm of authenticity. Do I sound like I’m preaching? I don’t mean to.”

If straight actors can’t play gay, then…

Some online commenters dismissed Hanks’ concern as well-meant but unnecessary. Posters claimed that if straight actors can not play gay, gay actors should consequently not play straight.

However, as Alicia Dawn pointed out on Twitter, straight actors don’t face the same issues of ‘stereotypes, misrepresentation and utter invisibility’.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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