It goes without saying that LGBTQ+ people are amazing. We are. I’ve decided as such and my word is gospel at this point. That being said, I wouldn’t be allowed to say that if it were not for some of the bravest people out there who have made an impact on LGBTQ+ rights and who just happen to not be LGBTQ+ themselves. These people are allies.
Allies are individuals who support and advocate the rights and equalities of others who are marginalised and discriminated against in society. In this instance, heterosexual (straight) people who advocate the rights of LGBTQ+ people.
Over the next few blogs, I will be highlighting key names across the world who are making their voices heard on behalf of the marginalised. In today’s issue, we’re looking at two actors who champion LGBTQ+ rights. They are Daniel Radcliffe and Sir Patrick Stewart.
Daniel Jacob Radcliffe, born 23rd July 1989, is a world-renowned actor due his leading role in the Harry Potter film series. He was born in Hammersmith, London and would attend multiple independent schools in the UK.
As the Harry Potter series began to take over his life he would use on-set tutors for his education and would achieve A grades in 3 As-levels before giving up full-time education as he felt it a waste of his time and knew he’d never have a normal university experience anyway.
His first TV acting appearance was as David Copperfield in 1999, in the BBC adaptation of the same name. 2-years later he hit the silver screen with a small part as the son of Jamie Lee Curtis’s character. It was during this time that he was also filming for his most significant role as Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
As we all know, and I won’t bore you with the details, the Harry Potter franchise went on to become a worldwide phenomenon. The books reintroduced a love of reading to a generation veering more towards electronics and the films themselves have grossed over $7.7billion and are the third highest-grossing film series in history.
Aside from Harry Potter, Radcliffe has stared in the ITV war-drama My Boy Jack, the 2012 horror movie The Woman In Black, the ridiculous Swiss Army Man and even the box-office bomb, Playmobil: The Movie. But acting isn’t why Radcliffe is on this list; although we do love him for it.
Radcliffe is here as a Queero for his allyship for the LGBTQ+ community. For many years, Radcliffe has spoken out publicly on homophobia and transphobia, campaigning for rights and equality to all.
On a philanthropic level, Radcliffe has supported many charities including The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ organisation for the prevention of suicide within the community. He filmed public service announcements in 2009 raising awareness of suicide amongst gay teens, as well as donating money to the cause, receiving their 2011 Hero Award in recognition of his allyship.
"I have always hated anybody who is not tolerant of gay men or lesbians or bisexuals. Now I am in the very fortunate position where I can actually help or do something about it"
But what most people are likely to be more familiar with, in terms of his LGBTQ+ work, is his response to the transphobic messages that Harry Potter author, J. K. Rowling made, and continues to make, about trans people:
"People who menstruate’. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?" – J. K. Rowling, Twitter, 06/06/2020
Radcliffe, infuriated and embarrassed by her comments, fought back against her alongside other Harry Potter stars, and wrote an essay for the Trevor Project condemning her words, affirming that transgender women are women, and apologised to the community, signing it off with his love.
Daniel Radcliffe is a true ally. A Queero through and through for his love, support and devotion to equality and fairness for all within the LGBTQ+ community. He uses his platform for good and to inspire hope to millions, and is brave enough to confront those who, let’s be blunt, gave him his career legacy and income. He has allegedly sworn not to undertake any further Wizarding World work as long as J. K. Rowling is involved. A man of courage and conviction through and through, the epitome of human kindness.
Sir Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart was born in July 1940 in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He grew up in unfortunate circumstances of poverty and abuse from his father, a former regimental sergeant major who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
A young stewart, far right
Stewart’s interest in acting started in early childhood and would follow him through his school years where he studied drama. Upon leaving school at 15, he would continue his acting interests while working for a local newspaper but was ultimately made to leave due to his lack of journalistic interest. To be fair, he was writing obituaries.
He went on to receive a grant to attend the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School where his artistic talents were nurtured into what we all know and love today. He became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 and the following year made his TV debut in Coronation Street as a fire officer.
His acting credits grew on stage with well-known Shakespearian works including Hamlet and King Lear, and in 1971 he played Tom Snout in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, marking his Broadway debut.
His career and legacy across stage and screen grew and in 1987 took on his greatest role to date as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, a role he initially didn’t really want and did not see going further than one series.
Due to the success of Star Trek, Stewart would play the role for 7-years and found other roles hard to come by. Returning to the stage proved just as difficult. Spending so long on the series had not only altered his voice, it altered his image to an audience that only saw him as that one character. Despite the success it brought him, the experience is not one he is wholly proud of.
In 1997, Stewart was approached for the role of Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men, another franchise that would see his glory rise even more. Another role he was hestitant to portray, he went on to play the role in 7 films in total and lent his voice to a number of video games for the series. He currently shares the world record for longest serving live-action Marvel superhero with Hugh Jackman (Wolverine).
Stewart's acting career went from strength to strength, and he was able to diverse into other roles. And that career continues today, and the reprisal of his role as Jean-Luc Picard was a welcome return in Amazon’s Picard.
Patrick Stewart is an absolute icon in the acting community. His legacy and impact is world renowned and his services have awarded him both an OBE and a knighthood. He is without a doubt a leading figurehead in the acting world and has helped shape it to where it is today. But what is his Queeroic legacy? Well…
Stewart is highly vocal on LGBTQ+ rights and regularly speaks out on discrimination against the community. He shares his elation at the news of same-sex marriage being passed around the world. He consistently fights back against those discriminating against the community, even during his opinions with a notorious bakery in Northern Ireland who refused to make a cake with the words Support Gay Marriage. *
Stewart is best friends with gay actor Sir Ian McKellan, and the two regularly appear out together, holding hands and having a smooch for the paparazzi. These casual acts are normalising gentle homosexual activity that many heterosexual people are free to do without issue. McKellen even officiated Stewart's wedding.
Stewart even went out of his way to educate people on LGBTQ+ people through comparative terms. When discussing the X-Men franchise he would say “Mutants are like gays, they’re cast out by society for no good reason”.
This viewpoint itself was a great way to educate society and shake up their views. It simplified the message LGBTQ+ people were saying for years, that our differences were nothing to be feared of but to be embraced to create a stronger society.
So that’s him, our Queero Sir Patrick Stewart, acting legend and LGBTQ+ advocate. A man who believes in the freedom of love for all and the champion of LGBTQ+ rights. He publicly shares his relationship with his best friend, a gay man, and normalises public displays of affect for same-sex couples, as is permissible to heterosexual couples. A superhero not just in the movies.
It’s interesting to think that these two men, stars of stage and screen, have cemented lasting legacies within the film industry. Their work and franchises are amongst the most well-known, highest-grossing and diverse series out there. Whether it’s X-Men or Harry Potter, their work represents different communities and unique individuals that are outcasts in society but who fight back to protect those perceived as such. Voldermort or Rowling, you decide on that one. And through their efforts offscreen and their general human kindness, it’s proof that this world is evolving further and into a truly more magical place.
* I’ve read the accounts, the stories and the debate and I understand his justification. I don’t agree but I’m mature enough to allow him an opinion.