‘Glee’ Alum Darren Criss Says He’s “Culturally Queer”

Darren Criss has played queer roles over the years and is now explaining why he says he’s “culturally gay.”

One of the actor’s most remembered roles is Blaine Anderson from Glee, and during an appearance at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, he was asked about the impact of his character and the on-screen relationship with Chris Colfer’s Kurt.

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“F***ing awesome,” Criss said about portraying the gay character. “It was a narrative that I cared deeply about.”

Criss identifies as a straight, cisgender male and attributes his understanding of the LGBTQ+ community to his upbringing in San Francisco, California.

“I have been so culturally queer my whole life,” he said. “Not because I’m trying, you know, actually, I was gonna say, not because I’m trying to be cool, but I’m gonna erase that, because I am trying to be cool. The things in my life that I have tried to emulate, learn from, and be inspired by are 100 percent queer as f***.”

Criss continued, “It was in queer communities that I’ve found people that I idolize, that I want to learn something from. And I’d say that’s a gross generalization, that’s a lot of things and a lot of people. But I grew up in San Francisco in the ’90s. I watched men die. There was an awareness of the gay experience that was not a foreign concept to me. So, it was a narrative that I cared deeply about.”

The actor portrayed Blaine in the series Glee for six seasons and went on to play other gay characters, like Andrew Cunanan, in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. He also played the titular role in the Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

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