In 2014, De Niro opened up about his relationship with his
gay father in the HBO documentary, Remembering
the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr. In the film, the actor recounted his father’s
struggle with acceptance and to live an authentic life.
While his father was out, it was not common knowledge. Yet,
De Niro told Out magazine he felt it was
important to share his father’s story. “I felt obligated,” he said. “It was my
responsibility to make a documentary about him. I was always planning on doing
In addition to the documentary, De Niro also produced and starred
in Flawless, a 1999 film about a man
and his relationship with a transgender woman. He also portrayed a gay
character in Stardust.
When asked about why he hasn’t done more projects with queer
themes like his on-screen counterpart, Al Pacino, De Niro told Out it was something that never happened
for him. “If they had been offered to me by a good director, that’s something I
would have considered,” he said.
However, off screen, De Niro has been at the forefront of
LGBT inclusion in film thanks to the Tribeca Film Festival, which he co-founded
in 2002. This year is no different with films documenting the real-life story
of a gay gang in Washington, D.C. and a ripped-from-the-headlines drama about
the rise of a gay porn actor starring James Franco and Keegan Allen.
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“Through his work honoring the memory of his openly gay father, Robert De Niro has not only sent a message of acceptance to LGBT people, but also educated audiences of the harms of anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “He is a tireless advocate who has helped bring to the world LGBT storylines that spark dialogue, build support, and encourage understanding.”
The New York ceremony follows the Los Angeles event, which honored Ruby Rose, Demi Lovato, and Caitlyn Jenner, among others.