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7 reasons Julianne Moore is a gay icon

7 reasons Julianne Moore is a gay icon

Julianne Moore wins Academy Award for Best Actress in 2015 for Still Alice

It’s Julianne Moore’s birthday today (3 December) and it’s important you know why she’s a gay icon.

Here’s a little tidbit to get us started: Julianne Moore basically came out in an interview 15 years ago.

When asked if she is ‘100% straight,’ she told Out: ‘Yeah, I guess so. I mean no.

‘To tell you the truth, I think sexuality is probably fluid. Intimacy is about being with a person, not being with a sex,’ she said.

Julianne Moore at the 2015 Oscars
Julianne Moore at the 2015 Oscars (Disney | ABC Television Group | Flickr)

She’s passionately in support of gun reform in America, women’s equality and is a vocal champion of human rights.

So without further ado, here are the top seven reasons why Julianne Moore is the best gay icon.

1. She’s played a lot of gay characters

By my count, she’s played a total of seven gay characters throughout her career.

Possibly her most important LGBTI role is in the movie Freeheld, with out gay co-star Ellen Page. Based on a true story, she plays New Jersey police lieutenant Laurel Hester who has to retire from the force after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

She wants to transfer her police pension to her partner Stacie Andree (Ellen Page) before she dies but local authorities refuse. It follows the story of their landmark fight for equality and the movie won an Academy Award for Best Short Documentary.

Other Notable roles from Moore include Jules Allgood in The Kids Are Alright and Kat in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee – both in same-sex relationships respectively.

She cheats on her husband with a woman in both Chloe and The Hours. She also plays Havana Segrand in Maps to the Stars, in which she has a threesome with another woman and a man.

And while not expressly mentioned in Gus Van Sant’s 1998 remake of Hitchcock’s cult classic Psycho, Moore told Out she played Lila Crane as a ‘movie butch’ lesbian.

Besides these LGBTI characters, she’s also played characters like Cathy Whitaker in Far From Heaven, who catches her husband having an affair with a man. As well as Charley in A Single Man, who’s the longtime friend and ex-wife of a gay man.

2. Her HIV/AIDS activism

In the early 80s when she first moved to New York City as a recent graduate, she marched with Act Up! to protest the government’s lack of response to the spread of HIV.

She said in an interview in 2015: ‘People were getting sick and dying really quickly and nobody knew what it was. So I became involved in the community in that sense.’

Moore also teamed up with music artist Sia and actress Zoe Saldana for a special project this year to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS.

In the Free Me music video, Moore narrates the story of a young pregnant woman diagnosed as HIV positive.

Sia donated all proceeds from the song to End HIV, a campaign raising funds to manufacture ‘effective and low cost therapeutic’ HIV vaccinations.

The 1995 movie Safe is largely acknowledged to be an allegory about the early AIDS epidemic. Moore stars as suburban housewife Carol White, who develops a mysterious disease known as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS).

As the film progresses, she slowly succumbs to unpredictable and strange bodily reactions such as fatigue, asthma-like symptoms, vomiting, nose bleeds and convulsions.

Doctors cannot figure out how to treat or cure her.

Director Todd Haynes said he was inspired to write the film after he read Louise Hay’s The AIDS Book: Creating a Positive Approach. The book said if people just loved themselves, they could get rid of AIDS.

Haynes was horrified by this and started to look into ‘new age’ treatments in the rise of the AIDS epidemic.

In fact, the cover of the 2014 re-release of the movie states: ‘Safe functions on multiple levels – as a prescient commentary on self-help culture, as a metaphor for the AIDS crisis, as a drama about class and social estrangement, and as a horror film about what you cannot see.’

Moore’s character symbolizes the helplessness many gay men felt during the early AIDS crisis in not knowing why they were sick.

3. Freckleface Strawberry

Did you know Julianne Moore is also a New York Times Best Selling author?

She published her first book in October 2007 called Freckleface Strawberry. It tells the story of a girl who hates her freckles but eventually accepts them. This is a clear allusion to growing up LGBTI.

In fact, in Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever, the character Windy Pants Patrick has two moms.

Moore said: ‘My children have plenty of friends who have two mommies or two daddies, so they really believe they have the choice to marry a man or a woman.’

She added: ‘By the time they’re adults, I hope that’s a reality for everyone.’

Julianne Moore reading Freckleface Strawberry
Julianne Moore reading Freckleface Strawberry (Instagram)

In an interview to promote Freckleface Strawberry and the Really Big Voice, she said: ‘I am Freckleface Strawberry.

‘I want to write about that [it’s ok to be different]. That maybe what you have is ok and whatever makes you different is an ok thing.

‘If you have freckles, if you’ve got a big voice, if you’re good at sports or if you’re bad at sports – there’s room for all of it… books are important because it’s a way for kids to find themselves.’

She’s clearly telling us it’s okay to be gay. (Freckleface Strawberry is now also a musical)

4. Her fabulous soap opera era

Julianne Moore is literally giving the gays everything they want. After studying theatre at Boston University, she started out her acting career in soap opera As The World Turns.

From 1985 to 1988, Moore was a regular as Frances ‘Frannie’ Hughes and then as Sabrina Hughes.

Let me explain this plot line: Frannie decided to study psychology at the University of Oxford in England, where she saw Sabrina at Heathrow airport and noticed a distinct similarity.

After tracking her down, they finally meet and it turns out Sabrina is Frannie’s half-sister and cousin.

Now bear with me on this – her father had an affair with her aunt. The two developed a rivalry, even vying for the same guy at one stage.

Watch the iconic moment Frannie met Sabrina:

She won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Ingenue in a Drama Series in 1988 (for both Frannie and Sabrina).

As The World Turns aired on CBS for 54 years from 2 April 1956 to 17 September 2010. Moore then made a brief cameo appearance in a 2010 episode, just before the show finished.

5. Her LGBTI activism 

Julianne Moore was a vocal supporter of marriage equality in America before it became legal on 26 June 2015. She recorded a message of support for it via Lambda Legal’s #IDo campaign.

‘Whatever the decision, we know the fight goes on,’ she says in the video. ‘The fight for LGBT youth in school who are too often bullied at school, the fight for transgender people who face violence and discrimination and the fight for the right to take care of a loved one when they fall ill.

‘We will keep fighting until all of us are truly equal,’ she added.

On the fight for marriage equality in America, she said in a 2011 interview: ‘I think it’s a very basic human-rights issue.

‘Everybody has the right to marry the person they love and be represented as a couple and family,’ she added.

Similarly, in an interview with an Italian journalist in 2016, the interviewer asks how the actress felt about Italy’s consideration of allowing gay couples to adopt children.

She replied: ‘Everyone having a family is a matter of human rights. Every individual should have the right to have a family.’

Moore also signed a letter calling for Texas legislators to condemn the controversial Bathroom Bill this year.

The letter warns that ‘Texas Senate Bill 6 (SB6) and House Bill 1362 (HB1362) would criminalize and restrict the simple act of a transgender person using the restroom that aligns with their gender identity – a denial of basic human dignity.’

6. This hilarious Billy on the Street segment

Julianne Moore took to the streets with gay comedian Billy Eichner in a hilarious Billy on the Street segment.

In it, Eichner and Moore approach random people on the street and the Academy Award winning actress recites lines for tips in Times Square.

They approach unsuspecting strangers and Moore entertains them with iconic monologues from her back catalogue of movies.

My personal favorite is when she reenacts her inimitable monologue from Magnolia, complete with a tonne of swearing.

As she’s yelling ‘I’m sick! I have sickness all around me!’ a passerby walks in half way through the performance. The random woman can’t quite understand what’s going on and walks off incredibly confused.

At one point, Moore even cries on cue. Is there anything she can’t do?

7. She’s simply iconic

Time and time again, numerous LGBTI publications brand Julianne Moore as a gay icon.

In an interview in 2002, journalist Michael Musto called her a gay icon, to which she replied: ‘That’s my people. The gay community has tremendous taste. It’s very flattering.’

And by her own confession, she’s been to more gay Pride parades than she can remember. She also regularly attends the GLAAD Awards.

She said: ‘Obviously there are a lot of organizations that I support and they’re a community that I’m very, very proud to know.’

She’s a muse for gay fashion designer Tom Ford. In fact, she starred in his 2009 film A Single Man, with a role he scripted specifically for her.

Colin Firth and Julianne Moore at the Kingsman Premiere in London
Colin Firth and Julianne Moore at the Kingsman Premiere in London, both wearing Tom Ford (Tom Ford | Instagram)

She’s also been wearing his clothes on various red carpets for over 15 years.

On their relationship, Moore said he’s the one gay man she has an incredible bond with but had to tell herself it’s never going to happen sexually.

She’s very recently teamed up with jewellery designer John Hardy in his new Made for Legends campaign.

If the title didn’t give it away, the collection features Moore and model Adwoa Aboah as strong, powerful legends.

Photographers for the campaign Luigi Murenu and Iango Henzi said: ‘These women are true legends.

‘Photographing these women was an awe-inspiring experience. Not only does this campaign celebrate their individuality, it also showcases the duality of feminine strength and vulnerability they possess,’ they said.

For more than 40 years, queer audiences have marvelled at Julianne Moore’s stunning portrayals of emotionally troubled, yet often empowering female characters.

She remains an important source of inspiration, both on and off screen. So on today of all days, we wish her a very happy birthday.


James Besanvalle is a journalist for Gay Star News. You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram for Moore (pun definitely intended) inevitable updates on Julianne Moore… including this working thread: