- DEMI LYNCH -
Remember the groundbreaking 2005 film BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN?
It was a Box Office hit that won three Academy awards, yet was deemed controversial because it showcased a love story between two cowboys.
In fact many A-List actors refused to take on the roles of the two gay cowboys because they were worried it would tarnish their heterosexual image.
At the Academy Awards in 2007 the leading actors of the film Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were asked to speak at the opening ceremony.
Jake revealed in a recent interview with Another Man Magazine, Heath refused to speak at the ceremony because in the opening monologue script there was a joke made about the film's same-sex love story.
“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it… And Heath refused," Jake said, "I was sort of at the time, ‘Oh, okay…whatever.’ I’m always like, ‘It’s all in good fun.’ And Heath said, ‘It’s not a joke to me — I don’t want to make any jokes about it.'"
This isn't the first time Jake Gyllenhaal had spoken about his co-star's lack of tolerance for homophobic jokes.
In 2019 Jake spoke on the Today show about Heath getting frustrated with people making gay “Brokeback” jokes.
“I see people who have joked with me or criticised me about lines I say in that movie — and that’s the thing I loved about Heath,” Jake said. “He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, ‘No. This is about love’. Like, that’s it, man. Like, no.’”
Although there is still so much to be done to help the LGBTQIA community not be discriminated against, people today are more accepting of the Queer community compared to the year 2005.
LGBTQIA issues and stories were not brought into the mainstream media like they are in 2020.
That is why it's such a big deal Heath Ledger was an ally over a decade ago.
Heath Ledger was a Queer ally back when only one state in America had legalised same sex marriage.
Heath Ledger was a Queer ally back when there were no laws in America to protect the LGBTQIA youth from being forced into gay conversion therapy.
Heath Ledger was a Queer ally back when gay men and lesbian women could not serve openly in the U.S. military.
It's important we remember those that were allies before LGBTQIA rights and freedoms advanced significantly in western societies.
Heath Ledger may be remembered for his iconic film roles but he will also be remembered as an ally of the Queer community.