Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (May 16, 2008)


The queerest city on earth, my hometown of San Francisco, hosted the fourth in a dazzling series of award shows for the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards last Saturday. Sharon Stone, being honored with the Vanguard Award for media professionals who have, in their work, increased positive visibility for the LGBT community, talked with about her decision to "play gay" back when few actors were willing to take that risk.

All photos by KT Jorgensen

I asked Stone what motivated her to take the role in If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000), where she played Ellen DeGeneres‘ partner.

"I thought that it was a fantastic part and a wonderful opportunity," said Stone. "It was very well-written and extraordinarily funny. Ellen is a great actress, and I thought that it was intelligent. Politically interesting, and a wonderful opportunity as an actor."

The experience was eye-opening. "I didn’t know what it was like to portray a lesbian woman, and I had to learn a lot about it," she said. "A lot of people don’t know what a gay person is. And even I, who had a lot of gay friends, certainly didn’t know what it really was to be gay. And it softened me, and it taught me a lot about what I didn’t know before."

There was a lot of buzz at the event about the wedding of Kevin and Scotty on ABC’s Brothers and Sisters, which aired the next night. I asked Stone if she felt that dramatic depictions of lesbian and gay relationships on television increased public support for LGBT equality.

"I do, and it’s in a way that is relevant and appropriate," she said firmly. "The concept ‘to fight for your rights’ is maybe not the appropriate phrase. To stand for your rights, to be exemplary for your rights, to be intelligent for your rights, to lead a movement for your rights, to be loving for your rights — If These Walls Could Talk was a gorgeous opportunity to do all of those things. It was right after that that Vermont voted to have gay marriages, and we felt really great about that. I just feel if you can use any of these opportunities to be a living example, to have your rights reflect your own desires, this is the way to go."

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