During Outfest, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, on Sunday, attendees of the Director's Guild panel Taking It to the Streets: LGBT Directors Get Political received surprising advice contrary to the essence of the event.
Panelist and three-time Emmy winning director Todd Holland advised young, gay male actors to hide their sexuality.
The Larry Sanders Show director, who is openly gay, explained that it was a necessary career choice to succeed in Hollywood.
Fellow panelist and filmmaker Kirby Dick, disputed the argument by labeling it as regressive.
Dick, who is straight, believes that if "an A-list actor came out, it would have more impact on the culture than an A-list politician." He would know, as he directed Outrage, a 2009 documentary about gay politicians who stay in the closet to further their political careers.
Holland defending his position claiming realism, but it brought up a persistent worry in the entertainment industry where major players live in the closet to ensure a "successful" career.
"This stuff doesn't just extend to actors," said an audience member. "We've been told, as gay filmmakers, not tell queer stories or else we'll get pigeonholed."
"What kind of message is that for an older gay filmmaker to send to young gay filmmakers? It's the kind of thing that will keep people in the closet," said another attendee.
Outfest's slogan is: "protecting our past, showcasing our present, nurturing our future,"
Well, our future is looking grey and sad if we're encouraging our own to remain closeted!
Visibility is key!