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- American actor and singer
Darren Criss is "a season ticket holder to the queer experience".
The 34-year-old actor starred as Blaine Anderson on the hit TV series 'Glee', and although he left the show in 2015, fans continue to enthuse about his on-screen relationship with Kurt Hummel, played by Chris Colfer.
Darren shared: "I have a lot of queer folks that come up to me, particularly older folks, that will say how much that relationship meant to them.
"They’ll say, ‘When I was growing up, I didn’t really ever get to see that on TV’ … and then I always remind them, neither did I."
Darren explained that the on-screen romance means a lot to him, too.
He told The Independent: "As a CIS straight man, I also didn’t see that. And while I have not grown up as a queer person, I’m a lifetime subscriber, man. I’m a season ticket holder to the queer experience.
"I grew up in San Francisco in the 90s; these are people that raised my cultural awareness … [so] also it means a lot to me."
Despite this, Darren accepts that the issue of straight actors playing LGBT+ roles is extremely complex.
The actor admits he simply doesn't "know what to say" about the issue - although he always tries to remain "very fair and diplomatic".
Darren - who joined the show's cast in 2010 - said: "This is a really tough one because, let’s just say, I’ve been s*** on.
"No matter what I say, I’m going to get into the same mess that I’ve always gotten in, which is me being what I believe is very fair and diplomatic, but nobody’s interested in that, because compassion is not currently in vogue. So I don’t know what to say."