Rupert Everett: Gay community must be ‘vigilant’ over threat to rights

Rupert Everett attending the twenty-first British Independent Film Awards, held at Old Billingsgate, London.
Rupert Everett attending the twenty-first British Independent Film Awards, held at Old Billingsgate, London.

Actor Rupert Everett has said being gay is still a life and death challenge and the community must be “vigilant” against threats to its rights.

The star, who played the role of Oscar Wilde in The Happy Prince, claims rights guaranteed in the West could “not be on the menu” if they become a matter of complacency.

Everett, 59, has said that changes across Europe could threaten the security of the gay community that has been fought for during decades of struggle.

He spoke at the British Independent Film Awards, where he was nominated for his role as Wilde in a film charting the writer’s struggles against discrimination.

Everett said: “In over three quarters of the planet it’s still a life and death challenge being gay or lesbian or transgender. Even in the West everything is changing.

“We’ve made enormous progress since the days of Oscar Wilde, fantastic things have happened. But at the same time you also need to be vigilant. Things are changing all over Europe at the moment in all sorts of ways. I think in my community we have to be vigilant about it.”

Everett believes that the progress made in recent decades in terms of the acceptance and protection of the gay community could be undermined, and believes that the threats could be immediate.

He said: “We have to think really hard about what we’ve gotten used to in the last 40 or 50 years, because a lot of it might not be on the menu soon. I think there is a certain complacency.”

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