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Lots of progress has been made over the last two decades to introduce gay characters into movie and television roles in hopes of changing the public’s perception of the gay community and their deserved rights. Here are ten straight actors who nailed gay roles on the big screen and portrayed some of the most iconic gay characters in entertainment.

1. Sean Penn

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Penn portrayed Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist in San Francisco, in the 2008 film, Milk. Penn’s character goes on to become the first openly gay elected government official in the late 1970s. Sean Penn captured the spirit of the real Harvey Milk with vulnerability and strength in the controversial movie.

2. Colin Firth

straight actors who nailed gay roles
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Colin Firth played a gay English professor who’s unable to cope with the sudden death of his long-term partner in the 2009 film, A Single Man. Directed by openly gay American fashion designer, Tom Ford, the film went on to receive 37 nominations. Firth was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role as his portrayal was hauntingly relatable for anyone who’s lost a loved one.

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