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Actor James Franco has played the "gay vague" card to his advantage. (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)
Actor James Franco has played the "gay vague" card to his advantage. (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

James Franco plays the 'gay-vague' card again Add to ...

The question of "is he or isn't he?" that has followed James Franco for years doesn't seem to bother the actor, who has taken on gay roles onscreen and championed LGBT causes off-screen.

In fact, things seem to be going according to plan for the 32-year-old actor.

Mr. Franco is on the cover of transgender magazine Candy this month, donning some seriously gaudy earrings, crimson lipstick, blue eye shadow and more mascara than your average southern beauty queen.

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It's just the latest in a series of moves that has won him favour among the LGBT community - not that he needs to try any more.

For years, Mr. Franco gave ambiguous answers when asked point-blank about his orientation in interviews. Then, in a recent Q&A with Advocate magazine he said he wasn't gay, and a summer New York Magazine profile mentioned his long-term girlfriend. But the rumours persist and, in a way, they've worked to his advantage: He played Scott Smith, the lover of gay politician Harvey Milk in the Oscar-winning Milk, and plays the lead in the upcoming film Howl, a biopic of gay writer Allen Ginsberg.

He's not the only male celebrity to play the "gay-vague" card. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe used it to his advantage as well. He went with the flow when he was brought into a long, same-sex kiss at an awards show in 2008 and most recently posed on the August cover of Out Magazine and discussed his friendship with a trans musician Our Lady J. It's helped him break out of the geeky wizard role onto Broadway and scored him critical acclaim (not to mention a host of gay fans).

Before American Idol star Adam Lambert even came out of the closet, he'd developed a strong gay and straight fan base based on the power of rumours alone.

And writer Michael Chabon wove homosexual themes into all of his literary works, which inspired much speculation about whether he was gay. In an interview with CBS he said his sexuality didn't matter but explained that one important thing did: "What I do care about is knowing that I have a gay readership, a large gay readership. I mean, I hope I do. I hope I've held on to it."

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