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John Barrowman on gay representation

Openly gay actor John Barrowman discussed the representation of gay characters on television during a panel at Toronto’s Fan Expo, Sunday Aug 26.

Barrowman, who portrays bisexual sci-fi Captain Jack Harkness on Torchwood, says he is disappointed that most gay characters on TV are reduced to stereotypes. 

"I’m so proud of Captain Jack and so proud of what… the BBC allowed me to help create… the fact that I’m a hero. I’m not a flouncing queen. And there’s nothing wrong with that; don’t get me wrong but there’s a very diverse group of gay men and women out there… We need to be represented on television in the proper way. We don’t need to be all stereotyped on television. That’s what’s happened in the mainstream and unfortunately certain audiences around the world only identify with types. For writers and people that are creating new shows and doing things differently and not just writing sterotypes, those are the shows we should stand up for and be proud of."

In the late ‘90s, Barrowman auditioned for the male lead in a little show you may have heard of- NBC’s Will & Grace. It came down to Canadian Eric McCormack and Barrowman. Producers chose straight McCormack, as they felt actually gay Barrowman wasn’t “gay enough.”

Barrowman’s next project, the CW’s Arrow, premieres Oct 12. 

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