In an interview with The Toronto Star, actor Ethan Hawke has discussed the role that pop culture has played in improving society’s attitudes towards homosexuality, claiming that there is “almost zero homophobia” among young people now.
“It’s been fascinating to me. One of the biggest differences I think between my generation and my kids is that they have almost zero homophobia. They’ve grown up thinking that it’s not a big deal to have gay characters on TV or in movies like Boys Don’t Cry or Kiss of the Spider Woman.
There are all these things that started this (gay acceptance) ball rolling, and now people are really comfortable talking about it. I think you’ll see a lot less teen suicide in the coming years. I really do believe that.”
The discussion came as part of a look at the 1955 James Dean classic Rebel Without a Cause, which famously has strong homosexual undertones. Speaking of that film Hawke said:
“Nicholas Ray is such a great filmmaker and it’s a great example right now of how much more comfortable we are confronting sexuality than in the past. It doesn’t have to be all tucked away in innuendo any more, even in the way Tennessee Williams would have to tuck it away at the very end of his life.”