Last week on Buzzfeed, I came across the article "31 Actresses That Went Gay for Pay." The sub-header of the article states "These (supposedly) straight actresses have switched teams for television and movie roles, sometimes more than once. And we love that about them." My first reaction was, "awesome!" because I’m pretty much a sucker for anything with lesbian content. (I swear I will watch paint dry as long as the paint is lesbian.) As I read through the article, a feeling of frustration washed over me. The connotation of “gay for pay” turns those roles, roles we love, to something less than positive.
First of all, "gay for pay" has pornographic origins. It’s used to describe a heterosexual performer who engages in gay sex for compensation. To equate all gay roles played by straight actors as "gay for play" seems fundamentally unfair.