Darren Criss Made Out with a Gay Porn Star & Didn’t Know Until After the Fact

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Darren Criss is an all-inclusize man. Although he identifies as a straight male, the 30-year-old actor portrayed a gay guy on Glee for nearly five years. “I think it’s more empowering to everybody, including myself, if I’m articulate about identifying myself as a straight male playing a gay character. Ultimately, that’s more powerful for both communities,” he told Out magazine back in 2011.

The year Glee reached its end, the boundary-pusher signed on to be the lead on Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as an East German genderqueer singer. Though some claimed that one of the raven-haired heartthrob’s performances came off as transphobic, after a comment directed toward Caitlyn Jenner (which Darren has since apologized for), many praised the A Very Potter Musical star’s stint.

But did you know that during the height of his reign, things got hot and heavy between him and a gay porn star?? And a popular one, no less. We kid you not, he said so himself Conan! “For the most part, if you’re familiar with the show, it’s a very rambunctious crew with a large following and people know what they’re getting into when they come to the show,” he explained of ~kissing~ audience members, “so I would tend to pick the people who didn’t know what was going on for myself and everybody else watching the show, so I would try to target the most conservative-looking straight boys because that’s just more fun.”

“So, one night, I remember going for this one dude,” he continued. “After the show, this guy, who I basically roughed up quite a bit […] The guy had lipstick and glitter all over him and, afterwards, he came backstage with somebody who knew somebody from the show and he was a good sport about it and he seemed genteel and ho-hum. Like, ‘Gee, that was crazy.'”

The kicker: “On the way out, me being pleased with myself for giving a rollicking good time to a conservative young man, a couple comes in afterwards and they go, ‘Do you know who that was?’ I was like, ‘No.’ ‘That’s our favorite gay porn star!’

“This guy has clearly seen much more than I ever have,” Darren concluded. (FYI, the GPS’ name is Levi Michaels.)
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Darren Criss, plus 12 other stars who portrayed transgender characters:


Vanessa Ray — Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars fans were beyond shocked to find out that the character CeCe was not only "A," but also formerly known as Charles. And that the character — played by actress Vanessa Ray — struggled with fitting into her family amidst both her past actions and her feeling inside herself that she was meant to be a girl all along. Leading to a season finale that was both heartbreaking and eye-opening.

Photo: ABC Family

Darren Criss — Hedwig and the Angry Inch

A multitude of popular actors ended up taking on the role of Hedwig in the Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch within the course of the past year or so. While Neil Patrick Harris first revived the persona of the German rock n' roll singer, others to follow his performance included Glee's Darren Criss, Andrew Rannells, Michael C. Hall, and, currently, actor Taye Diggs. Seriously, all of these actors in this role couldn't have been more perfect!

Photo: Belasco Theatre

Alex Newell — Glee

Glee has always been a show ready to speak up for the LGBTQ community. For them, the transgender teen was portrayed by actor Alex Newell who played the character of Wade Adams — later told to be known as Unique, a female persona. While answering a question from a gleek, Alex confirmed that he himself does not consider himself transgender and even spoke about playing a transgender character in saying, "I feel like it's not shed in a negative light anymore," followed by, "Now it's more of a positive light, more of an education." We couldn't agree more, Alex!

Photo: FOX

Dot Marie Jones — Glee

Towards the beginning of Glee, viewers looked at Dot Marie Jones' character — Coach Beiste — as your typical tomboy female gym teacher. However, later on in the show, showrunners decided to make Coach Beiste transition into a male. And even Dot expressed her feelings about the sudden change to People magazine in saying, "I just didn't want to let down the girls who are straight and tomboys that my character represented for the last four seasons." But the actress changed her mind soon after reading the script and discovering how "amazing" it actually was. In fact, the overwhelming fan response she received on Twitter for her character's coming out episode even led to her crying with happiness for being able to reach out to those fans. Seriously, we will never forget that television transgender transition! Love you, Dot!

Photo: FOX

Andrew Garfield — "We Exist" By Arcade Fire

Playing transgender characters is not limited to just film! The Amazing Spider-Man's Andrew Garfield took on the role of a transgender woman in the band Arcade Fire's music video for their song, "We Exist." In the video, Emma Stone's boyfriend is seen sporting a bra and wig to help show the struggle of dealing with identifying your gender. It was definitely a side of Andrew we've never seen before!

Photo: Merge Records

Eddie Redmayne — The Danish Girl

One of the most-anticipated upcoming transgender characters has to be Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of Einer Wegener — turned Lili Elbe — in the November 2015 film The Danish Girl. While the transgender community did fight for the role to be played by an actual transgender actor, the Les Miserables star responded to the backlash in saying, "I felt like, I'm being given this extraordinary experience of being able to play this woman, but with that comes this responsibility of not only educating myself but hopefully using that to educate [the audience]. Gosh it's delicate, and complicated." We can't wait to see what he does with this character!

Photo: Working Title Films

Elle Fanning — About Ray

Dakota Fanning isn't the only Fanning girl to take on dramatic, challenging roles! In fact, her little sister Elle Fanning actually portrays a transgender male and the struggles of his transition in the upcoming independent film About Ray! His challenging transition amidst three family generations living together in New York City is going to be premiering this September 2015. We seriously can not wait!

Photo: The Weinstein Company

Jared Leto — Dallas Buyers Club

It's hard to forget Jared Leto's recent Academy Award win for the role of Rayon in Dalla Buyers Club. The Suicide Squad actor took on the role of an HIV positive transgender woman in an age when AIDS was just starting to break into the world. Leading to a performance that was both emotionally taxing and award-worthy. Is there anything to NOT love about Jared?

Photo: Focus Features

Jordan Todosey — Degrassi

Teen Nick's popular drama series Degrassi is always trying to cover the individual and group struggles faced by modern day high schoolers. That's why it was no surprise when a transgender teen storyline was brought about by actress Jordan Todosey. The female actress joined the cast as Adam Torres in the show's tenth season and helped tell the tale of a high school student who was born female but identified as male. In fact, it was the very first scripted transgender teenager in television history! Jordan is also known for her role as Lizzie in Disney Channel's show Life With Derek.

Photo: Teen Nick

Chloe Sevigny — Hit & Miss

Actress Chloe Sevigny was yet another actor who took on a transgender storyline. On DirecTV's show Hit & Miss, Chloe played a male Irish assassin who transitioned into a female throughout the course of the show. And, believe-it-or-not, she actually does feel like the experience gave her a better view on what being transgender might actually feel like. "Having it on [a prosthetic penis] and looking at yourself is oddly disturbing. I felt like a freak," she told Huffington Post, "A lot of transgender people feel like this shouldn't be part of their body, and so I guess it was a good thing. I reacted the way my character would." That must have been one crazy, eye-opening experience!

Photo: DirecTV

Hilary Swank — Boys Don't Cry

Academy Award winning actress Hilary Swank is no stranger to acting as a transgender character either! The Million Dollar Baby star won an Oscar for both films — Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don't Cry — but for the latter she won as the Best Leading Actress whilst played a female who has transitioned into a male. It was a classic story of a girl dealing with the struggles of feeling like a boy and, eventually, finding love. Definitely a must-see transgender love story!

Photo: Fox Searchlight

Glenn Close — Albert Nobbs

And Hilary Swank wasn't the only critically-acclaimed actress to do so! Oscar nominated actress Glenn Close also took on the role of a female transforming into a male as the character Albert Nobbs. While her character wasn't specifically identified as transgender, Albert was a woman who posed as a man in society in order to receive the independence she was seeking. However, when she came face-to-face with a man she was falling for, the struggles of not being who you seem to be took on full effect — in much the same ways of the personal struggles of someone identifying as transgender. Glenn didn't end up taking home the Academy Award for her performance, but she did indeed receive a well-deserved Oscar nomination!

Photo: Lionsgate Entertainment

Felicity Huffman — Transamerica

In the 2005 film Transamerica, Wisteria Lanes' actress Felicity Huffman pushed her acting abilities by taking on the role of a man transitioning into a woman — despite the fact that she is and always has been a woman herself. "Once I started meeting with them [the transgender community], talking and working with them, I really understood the heart-wrenching dilemma they're under. Of course, I always wanted to do a decent job on the film but after getting to know that community, I was desperate not to screw it up," she told About Entertainment. And, honestly, we think she did just fine!

Photo: IFC Films

You can reach this post’s author, Kaitlin Cubria, on Twitter and Instagram!

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