Kerry Washington Doesn’t GAF That You Think She’s Gay

by Brenda Pitt

From She Hate Me


The incredible actress Kerry Washington, a longtime supporter of LGBT Rights, recently opened up to Advocate about her role on Scandal and the impact she hopes it has on the gay community. The show follows her character, Olivia Pope, as she struggles to keep her relationship with the president a secret, drawing parallels between her love story and that of a gay couple. For Washington, the show has deepened her awareness of the complexities and heartbreaks of closeted relationships; she explains, “Unfortunately, Olivia [… is] always being pulled between the truth of [her heart] and the truth of the world that [she lives] in, which is something the gay community can identify with.” 


Washington sees prejudice and hatred as a global problem; of her opposition of Russia’s antigay laws, she reminds readers that one group’s oppression paves the way for more, that we’re ultimately all in this together. She sees her experience and those of other actors of color echoed in LGBT artists, saying, “I’ve actually talked with friends about the similarities between being closeted and the idea of passing in the black community.” While she stresses the fact that no individual has the right to judge another’s decisions, she emphasizes the importance of expressing one’s true self: “When you buy into the cultural idea of what’s acceptable and unacceptable, you reinforce negative stereotypes and prejudices,” she explains. 


When asked her response to lesbian rumors, Washington of course isn’t fazed; she explains, “I’ve never been bothered by the lesbian rumor. There’s nothing offensive about it, so there’s no reason to be offended.” But it does peeve her that a woman’s embracing a female friend is read as sexual; she sees it as a symptom of societal prejudices and discomfort. The actress asks, “Are we so uncomfortable with love between two people of the same gender that we immediately label it as sexual?” Washington reminds us that women must support one another, and female friendship is at the core of her current work on Scandal; the women on set refuse to participate in “backstabbing or weird competitiveness [… they] want each other to shine.” And the amazing Washington wows us again!


Thanks to Advocate

Image via Advocate

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