Jane Lynch

The recently announced list of nominees for TV’s highest honours includes a range of openly gay performers and crew members.

These Emmy nominations are said to reflect a growing reality that being open about one’s sexuality is no longer an impediment to having a successful acting career in the US.

Openly LGBT actors nominated in the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards include:

• Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel (Glee)

• Alan Cumming as Eli Gold (The Good Wife)

• Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother) and as Bryan Ryan (Glee)

• Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett (Modern Family)

• Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester (Glee) and as Dr. Linda Freeman (Two and a Half Men)

• Ian McKellen as Two (The Prisoner)

• Lily Tomlin as Marilyn Tobin (Damages)

“By nominating eight openly gay, lesbian or bisexual actors for television’s highest honour, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has sent a clear message that LGBT actors are limitless in the roles that they play and offer a rich variety of talent that deserves recognition,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

Glee’s Lynch, who was at the Outfest film festival in Los Angeles on Saturday to receive an award for her work, commented on her struggle to come out as a gay performer.

“It’s funny, when I was younger I used to lie in bed and think, ‘What will I do if I ever get famous and they find out I’m gay?’ I would really angst about that. It just happened so naturally and I didn’t hide anything, “she said.

“I never let anything like my sexuality stop me from pursuing what I wanted to do and what I do has nothing to do with my orientation really…I play straight people all the time, I think I’m an actor first before I’m a gay person,” added Lynch.

Eric Stonestreet was also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Cameron, Mitchell’s partner, on Modern Family and Will Arnett was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as the openly gay Devin Banks on 30 Rock.

Glee was the most nominated comedy series this year with 19 nominations, while Mad Men led all drama series with 17 nominations.

Among Glee nominations were nods for openly gay director Paris Barclay, who directed the episode in which Kurt comes out to his father, as well as for the show’s openly gay creator Ryan Murphy, who wrote and directed the pilot.

Also of note, comedian Wanda Sykes was nominated for her HBO comedy special, Wanda Sykes: I’ma Be Me, which touched upon her experiences as a recently married lesbian woman raising a family.

The 62 Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Sunday, August 29.

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