French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier has said actors playing gay roles should be chosen because of the quality of their acting, not because of their sexuality.
Gaultier, 70, released his first individual collection in 1976 and has since become known as the enfant terrible of the fashion world with his unconventional haute couture designs.
Speaking to City AM, Gaultier discussed equality and inclusion and joined the debate on whether gay and transgender roles should be filled exclusively by gay and transgender actors.
He told the publication: “I think (the fight for inclusion) it’s fabulous.
“The only thing is I hope it doesn’t become like a frontal fight.
“I heard for example there are some associations that say now to play in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the one which is trans, it is a trans that plays a role.
“People have to be chosen for their performing and good acting. For example, some time there is people that are playing gay and were excellent.
“Tom Hanks did it very well, Javier Bardem did it perfectly.
“Sometimes if the actor is excellent you have to choose him not because of his sexuality. Choose him because of the quality of the actor.”
Gaultier, who was responsible for Madonna’s famous cone bra worn during her Blond Ambition world tour, announced his retirement in 2020 after celebrating his 50th anniversary in fashion.
He also reflected on the first time he worked with a transgender model, saying he did not do so to make a political statement.
“She was great and fabulous,” he said.
“She was looking truly like a woman, not a caricature of a woman. She was looking like a modern girl.”
He added that he does not believe the fashion industry has a problem with including transgender individuals, saying: “It’s changing, ideals about men, women, it’s evolution and fashion is supposed to be evolution. It’s a reflection of society.”
On the politicisation of gender and homosexuality, Gaultier said he did not think he was particularly political, adding: “Because I always respect the idea of the other one.
“But in some way we are all doing politics, I realise that.
“I am not going to demonstrations but I think by the fact that I am gay, the fact I tried to show different races, different kind of spirits – androgyny, homosexuality – all means definitely I am.”
The full interview is available on City AM now.