An Actor Who Changed Gay Lives: He Didn't Win an Academy Award. but Heath Ledger's Performance in Brokeback Mountain Moved Real People to Grieve, Get Honest, Come out, and Claim Their Own Destinies. Here Are a Few of Their Stories

By Henneman, Todd | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), March 11, 2008 | Go to article overview

An Actor Who Changed Gay Lives: He Didn't Win an Academy Award. but Heath Ledger's Performance in Brokeback Mountain Moved Real People to Grieve, Get Honest, Come out, and Claim Their Own Destinies. Here Are a Few of Their Stories


Henneman, Todd, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


THE TORMENTED ROMANCE between Heath Ledger's Ennis Del Mar and Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist resonated across sexual orientations and gender identities. After the film's December 2005 theatrical release, gay men went online seeking kindred spirits to discuss its effect and found places like journalist Dave Cullen's Ultimate Brokeback Forum, which now has grown to over 6,500 members. Moved by Ledger's January 22 death, some of these admirers bought a half-page memorial ad in the January 29 issue of Variety and began collecting personal stories for a scrapbook they plan to send to Matilda, Ledger's 2-year-old daughter.

"Brokeback Mountain did cause a lot of gay people who were in the closet to come out," says Cullen, 46. "A striking number of people lost a lot of weight or stopped smoking or made other changes to their lives in recognition of how they had to stop living that way."

Nick Villanueva of Idaho was still in the closet when he went with his wife to see Brokeback Mountain the January after its release. "Afterward, I was completely torn apart inside," says Villanueva, 35, who has five children. "Just like Ennis, even though happiness for him was [being] with Jack, it was not an option. He went back and married Alma and had kids. That's exactly what I had done. Watching Ennis and seeing how lonely he ended up being, I realized that really could be me emotionally."

By March 2007, Villanueva had come out to his family, and he and his wife of 11 years were divorced. He says seeing the film had been "a nail in the coffin" to issues they had already been having. Brokeback still plays a role in his life. Within the last month Villanueva came out to a coworker and then asked her to watch the film as a way to understand his life.

"What I appreciate now is the way Heath Ledger portrayed Ennis," Villanueva says. "I don't know if anyone else could have done it the way he did because of the kind of actor he was, the way he poured himself into characters. That's what reached out to me on an emotional level. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

An Actor Who Changed Gay Lives: He Didn't Win an Academy Award. but Heath Ledger's Performance in Brokeback Mountain Moved Real People to Grieve, Get Honest, Come out, and Claim Their Own Destinies. Here Are a Few of Their Stories
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.