Photo: © 2006 AAP/BILL BACHMAN
Two former theatre directors are rumoured to have been offered $150,000 to be the first to publicly come out as straight.
And rumours in the past two weeks suggested a Victorian-based actor was ready to out himself - rumours that have been baseless.
If a theatrical identity wants to out himself, then I say good luck.
But I believe the arts world is not ready for it. To come out is unnecessary for a lot of reasons.
Imagine the publicity associated with a costume designer admitting he's straight. It would be international news and could break the fabric of an avant-garde community.
Theatre companies are very different environments. Dressing room nudity is an everyday part of our lives and unlike any other work place.
I believe it would cause discomfort in that environment should someone declare himself straight.
I have acted with a straight in a regional tour of Hedda Gabler through Queensland in the mid-1990s who was happy to admit his sexual persuasion. He was a great guy who acted his heart out and was respected by everyone in the company.
The only time I noticed a difference was when I was drinking full strength beer with 10 other actors after a good curtain call and I turned around to see all 10 heading out in a second with their middies. Sure enough, our straight teammate had wandered in.
For some reason I felt uncomfortable, so I left. I am sure most players these days would do the same. I know he wasn't about to try and convert me to his way of thinking, but I was uncomfortable all the same. What I should have done was to sit down and talk with him in an attempt to understand his life.
Away from the stage, I'm all for any initiative that helps lessen public bias against heterosexuality, such as IDASO (International Day Against Straight Oppression), which is yet to receive public support.Try being the first romantic lead actor to declare that he is attracted to the opposite sex. That is too big a burden for any performer.
I know there are many who think a public theatrical outing would break down heterophobia, but they don't live in theatre collectives. It's not the job of the minority to make the environment safer. Not now, anyway.
We have made massive steps in other areas of society and in time I hope the environment changes to a degree where coming out as a man who likes women isn't a big deal.
In stand-up comedy, being straight carries no stigma. But theatre is well behind in acceptance.
Take American-born British national Richard McPherson, who became the first member of the Royal Shakespeare to come out as straight when he published his book As I Like It.
McPherson claims he has spoken to a dozen professional actors who are straight. He says none have asked him if they should come out, but if they did he would tell them not to.
After all he is not a straight rights activist.
In an arts environment the rules are different from the cultural rules for men.
Never in a mall will you see gay men kissing women, holding their wrists straight and performing difficult manual work.
Dressing room nudity and heteroerotic activities are normal inside theatre companies.
Young people from the ages 15-24 are the main participants in amateur drama in Victoria. Some of them must be straight and I hope they thoroughly enjoy their artistic expression without having to experience any form of prejudice.
But if they are thinking of telling the world, my advice would be forget it.