Happy two-days-after-Pride, “High School Musical” gays (aka me, I’m the HSM gay). Kenny Ortega, who directed all three films, went on Variety recently to talk about the queer aesthetic of his films and what it was like being out in Hollywood in the 70s. During the interview, he revealed that Ryan, twin brother of Sharpay Evans, future Julliard student and lover of hats, was gay and that “he’d probably…come out in college.”
Ortega also noted that he “didn’t think at the time” that he’d be able to make Ryan openly gay and so he “just took it upon myself to make choices that I felt that those who were watching would grab. They would see it, they would feel it, they would know it and they would identify with it. And that is what happened.”
The interview was for Variety’s annual Power of Pride list, and Ortega spilled a bit more about his life, including having a run-in with the KKK in his twenties when he played a bisexual character in the musical “Hair.” He also talked about what made his movies so accessible to queer kids growing up.
“There’s just kind of a spirit and a fun that is representative of my own spirit and fun that lives under some of my work. And that makes it, I think, queer-friendly—if that’s a good way to put it. And I think that there has been so much progress that you can actually say that now, and people won’t freak out.”
So now that Ryan is canonically gay now, is it safe to assume that him and Chad having a summer fling is confirmed now, too, because you can’t tell me they didn’t have a *thing* when “I Don’t Dance” exists. And also that him and Kelsi totally had a mutual beard partnership going on? In my head, Kelsi is bi and Sharpay is pan but too in love with herself and self-involved to figure that out (watch my byline for my head cannons of all the HSM gay folk and their rankings by order of gayness).
Featured photo screengrabbed from the “Fabulous” clip from “High School Musical 2” on YouTube