Vanessa Hudgens is opening up about her reason for becoming a gay rights advocate, saying it’s “not right” that there is still homophobia in today’s society and vowing to do something about it.
The actress has been steadily growing her stature in the gay community through her work, which includes the movie Beastly with openly gay director Daniel Barnz and a 2010 staging of Rent led by Neil Patrick Harris. Her breakout movie, High School Musical, also has a large LGBT fanbase.
In an interview this week with GLAAD’s Clair Pires, Vanessa Hudgens said she is not only working with gay actors and directors, but actively trying to stamp out homophobia.
“People can be very close-minded and I think it’s not right. I don’t think it’s fair,” said the 26-year-old actress and singer. “I think it’s important for us to stand up for people and to have each other’s back, and to be involved with the gay community and support the community.”
She added, “I’m a very open person. Love comes first for me.”
Hudgens added that she doesn’t look at sexual orientation of a director when picking projects.
It has become quite a change for the actress, who started with a large Disney audience of mostly young girls and families. In a 2011 interview with Advocate, Hudgens said she has been aware of her shifting status and growing fanbase in the LGBT community.
“I have been called “fierce” a few times. [Laughs] I do have a bunch of gay friends, my hairstylist is gay, and my makeup artist in New York is gay — just lots of people in my life that I love. But when it comes to the projects I choose, I just go with my gut instinct, and hopefully people will enjoy the ride I take them on. And the High School Musical movies actually reached out to so many people, young and old, gay or straight.”
Hudgens even said she would like to see Disney embrace an openly gay character.
“That would be groundbreaking, and it would definitely be nice. Society is a lot more open than it used to be, so I don’t think there’s a better time than now.”
Her prediction turned out to be quite accurate. A little more than two years later, Disney introduced a lesbian couple on the show Good Luck Charlie.
Vanessa Hudgens continues to increase her stature in they gay community with her new role on the New York stage as the title character in the revival of Gigi.
[Image via Getty Images]