Willie Garson, who portrayed Carrie Bradshaw's GBF Stanford Blatch on Sex and the City, has revealed why he stayed in the closet — as a straight actor.
“For years I didn’t talk about it because I found it to be offensive to gay people,” Garson told Page Six in a Thursday interview.
“People playing gay characters jumping up and down screaming that they’re not gay, like that would somehow be a bad thing if they were.”
Garson said that during press interviews, he had a stock answer if inquiries about his sexual orientation arose. “When the question would come up during the show I would say, ‘When I was on White Collar, no one ever asked me if I was a con man, and when I was on NYPD Blue, nobody ever asked me if I was a murderer. This is what we do for a living, portray people,'” he said.
However, Garson also experienced dating troubles for portraying the high-profile gay character, who memorably wed Anthony (Mario Cantone) in a musical same-sex marriage number with Liza Minnelli in the Sex and the City 2 film.
“At the beginning, you would approach someone at a bar and realize, ‘Oh, they want to be Stanford’s best friend.’ They don’t necessarily want to sleep with you,” Garson said. The actor never married, but he did adopt a seven-year-old son, Nathen, in 2009.
Garson remarks come at a time of debate over the appropriateness of straight actors portraying gay roles. While the casting of a straight actor in Disney's first clearly gay role in Jungle Cruise sparked a sizable backlash on Twitter — campy tropes are particularly sensitive territory — indie fare like Supernova, a Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci starrer, have a warmer welcome.
Historically, out actors were less likely to be cast in starring roles, even gay ones, as this list of 61 straight people who received Oscar nominations for LGBTQ+ roles attests.