John Cameron Mitchell has come out as non-binary after “getting a little bit of flack” about playing a trans character in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
The 58-year-old stars as Joe Exotic in Joe vs Carole, a limited series based on the Wondery Podcast of the same name.
Mitchell discussed the ongoing debate about whether or not gay characters should be portrayed by gay actors during an interview with Pride.
“I believe that acting means you’re playing someone that you’re not,” they told the outlet. “And I played all kinds of stuff that I’m not, but you bring your own life to it. For so long, there weren’t a lot of queer stars. We all know why, because of homophobia.”
They do, however, believe in giving “everybody an opportunity” though this does not mean “we only need to play ourselves because otherwise, it’s nothing but autobiographies.”
Mitchell then referenced Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the 2001 musical comedy-drama they starred in.
“Lately I’ve been getting a little bit of flack,” they explained before adding that some people believe “only trans people can play that role because it’s a trans role.”
The star then casually came out as non-binary.
“I’m not trans, I’m non-binary, but that’s a slippery slope because the character is forced into an operation and is not really trans,” Mitchell continued.
“The show is really about drag really more protecting them. Everybody has played Hedwig. Every race, age, sexuality, gender, that works for that. And Nicholas Cage could have killed it as Joe Exotic too. I had no problem with that.”
Rounding out their thoughts, Mitchell stated that considering an LGBTQ+ actor for a role should be a priority, though ultimately it should be given to whoever is the best fit.
They concluded: “I do like the fact that queer people were considered first.
“You still gotta have a good actor, and if none of them were good enough, sure, give it to the straight guy. But give the opportunity. Give the opportunity because there might be something about our upbringing that helps inform the role.
“Kate’s [McKinnon] playing a straight woman. She’s gay. It’s like is that not allowed? Of course, it is because she understands that character.”
Joe vs Carole is streaming now on Peacock. You can watch the trailer below or by clicking here.