Ultra-popular, the actress and comedian put her feet in the dish on the set of "Quelle Epoque!" on France 2 this weekend, saying that she was "the only actress in the world to say (her) homosexuality".

Muriel Robin, 68, says her sexual orientation has prevented her from being offered comedy roles for decades, as she fills theaters with her shows.

"I know French homosexual actors, they are silent", because there are no gay or lesbian performers displayed "who make great careers", she continued, going so far as to let go to the attention of young people: "we must tell them that it is not worth them to do this job. They won't work."

In question, according to her, the "desire" that must be projected on the stars of the big screen: "if one is homosexual, one is not desirable, one is not penetrable. And when you are not penetrable (...) you are worthless," said Muriel Robin.

This discrimination is impossible to quantify: there is no data on the sexual orientation of actors and actresses.

Few well-known French actors or actresses have publicly spoken about their homosexuality, like Nicolas Maury or Adèle Haenel, who said goodbye to cinema last May.

Abroad, the British Rupert Everett has already spoken about the difficulties of being a gay actor, when Muriel Robin cited the example of Jodie Foster, who has long been silent.

Stereotypes

On the other hand, the 50/50 collective, at the forefront of discrimination issues, published last year a barometer to measure the proportion of LGBT+ characters in French films.

The conclusion? They are rare: of the hundred films studied, sexual orientation is known for 82% of the main characters, and only 5% of them are homosexual or bisexual, and they are "strongly stereotyped", notes the study.

Very often, these roles are played by actors who do not claim to be homosexual, said Stéphane Gaillard, a casting director committed to the subject. And the few gay or lesbian actors are no longer offered straight roles, seeing their identity "vampirized", he continues.

"It's not a conspiracy, it's something very ingrained and not thought out," even among queer directors, he analyzes. As a result, "even today, actors have great difficulty saying who they are. It's a huge risk."

"For a straight person, playing a gay role brings added value, it's a springboard, when for a homosexual, it's the risk of being offered only one type of role," he adds.

The mechanism described by Muriel Robin "plays especially for the most famous stars, who must remain objects of desire," adds another casting director and head at 50/50, Sophie Lainé Diodovic.

Beyond the supposed sexual orientation, this professional calls for "a cultural deconstruction of virility" dominant, to better reflect the diversity of desires of the public.

During the preparation of some films, "I have already heard myself answer +this one, it is too gay +", she says about an actor who does not meet the classic criteria of virility "à la Belmondo or Depardieu". Already things are moving, "with Edouard Baer, Timothée Chalamet", much less virile physically.

To continue to change this "collective unconscious", Sophie Lainé Diodovic calls for "collective work" from the entire milieu.

Former agent Dominique Besnehard ("Dix pour cent") hopes that Muriel Robin's stance can help young performers: "what she is doing there is good (...) she's going to get things done," he said on the online show BuzzTV.

© 2023 AFP