HE has been a vocal opponent of America's slide to the right, now Scottish actor Alan Cumming hopes to challenge the views of the Trump era by playing the first leading gay man in US TV history.

The 52-year-old star of The Good Wife, from Aberfeldy in Perthshire, is currently filming new drama Instinct for the American CBS network.

Cumming, plays a former CIA agent turned academic in the series, which also features Lost's Naveen Andrews and Hollywood star Whoopi Goldberg.

The police drama is based on author James Patterson's forthcoming novel Murder Games.

Cumming is an executive producer on the series, currently filming in New York, and the performer is optimistic that his latest TV role as Dr. Dylan Reinhart will challenge views on LGBT lifestyles in the States.

He said: "I play a man who is a professor and a former CIA agent who goes back into the field with the NYPD. The third or fourth thing down the list of things about him is that he’s gay and has a husband. He's the first ever network character to have a gay character as the leading character. It feels so good that that’s happening in this era of Trump and that I’m part of it."

Cumming filmed the pilot episode in spring this year and was privy to feedback from early audience tests and focus groups, in which he found some surprising opinions from American viewers.

"It was really fascinating what people said about it. They tried to get everyday people along to it, not just sophisticated Manhattanites," he said. "The bits featuring the same sex couple were actually the least favourite part of the show. They said things afterwards that they liked me, and they don’t mind that my character is gay ... they just said those were the bits that they didn’t like as much, probably because they're not used to it and it’s frightening to them.

"It’s very tame, there’s nothing shocking in what we’re doing. It's not explicit. But I thought that was really fascinating. That’s what we’re up against. And that's why I’m glad the show is going on because it will definitely make a difference."

Cumming, who has also featured in movies including Eyes Wide Shut, recently played a man preparing to marry his partner in Something Borrowed, part of BBC Four's monologue series Queers written by Scottish writer Gareth McLean, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act which decriminalised homosexuality in some parts of the UK.

It was part of a season of programmes on the network, Gay Britannia, which marked the half a century since the passing of legislation decriminalising sex between men in England and Wales.

Speaking from his home in Manhattan, where he has lived since 1998, Cumming said the season highlighted a significant cultural difference between the UK and US.

He said: "It’s interesting to look at that from here, and imagine an American public broadcasting company - there’s only one - doing a whole season of work celebrating a history milestone like that. It just wouldn't happen here, and not just because of this Trump era of draconian ignorance. Just in general, there’s not the same connection between what is really contemporary life and what is portrayed on the TV here. It’s great that the BBC dedicated a whole season to it because it’s a big deal."

Cumming married his husband Grant Shaffer in 2012, and was married to actress Hilary Lyon for eight years in his 20s.

Despite being regarded as an outspoken high profile member of the LGBT community, the Tony Award-winning actor doesn't see himself as a spokesman.

He said: "I kind of take exception to that. People think I’m very outspoken about my sexuality. I’m not. I just get asked about it a lot and one of the things I look forward to is the day when nobody prefixes my name with bisexual or gay, because then we’ll have true equality. People don’t talk about 'straight actor' Ralph Fiennes or whoever. So we’ve a long way to go on that front."

That said, Cumming has used his profile to help where he feels it's needed.

The actor, who first achieved fame in Scotland as one half of 1980s TV comedy duo Victor and Barry with Forbes Masson, is a UN refugee ambassador and has worked with young LGBT people in the Middle East where homosexuality is illegal in 10 out of 17 countries.

He said: "I went to Lebanon last year and one boy I stayed in touch with got out and has finally resettled to Holland. But he'd been electrocuted and raped and all these things. He saw his friends being thrown off roofs for being gay."

Cumming has also appeared in a US TV advert in 2015 spoofing the US government's ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, which prevented them for giving blood unless they'd abstained from same sex intercourse for a year.

The Scottish Government recently announced plans to reduce the abstinence period in this country to three months.

But Cumming said: "During Obama there was a hilarious version of it, which was that you can give blood if you’re a gay or bisexual man, you just have to not have had sex for a year.

"I did a public service commercial about that, and I said I don’t actually want the blood of someone who hasn’t had sex for a year. That would be weird, stifled, f****d-up blood. It’s obviously a leftover homophobic thing from Aids, but statistically it doesn’t make sense in terms of the way the population is infected nowadays. Attitudes like that are still around, the idea that your blood isn't wanted if you are bisexual or gay."

Despite living in the US since the late 1990s, where early success on Broadway in a 1998 production of Cabaret made him a big name across the pond, Cumming has kept one eye trained on his homeland's political landscape.

He was a prominent Yes supporter in 2014 and is encouraged by the SNP Government's work on gender recognition laws, as well as their pledge to push the UK government to allow those who identify as non-binary to record their gender as "X" on official documentation such as passports.

He said: "Imagine what it's like feeling you were born the wrong gender and when you’re finally allowed to live your life in a way you're comfortable with you’re held back from getting on with that because you can’t change your records.

"Imagine what a huge decision and what a huge amount of strife and pain you'd go through to to actually do that in your life, we should support people in that.

"I've read people saying it’s a fad, it’s all happening too fast. Well, it’s a fad because people now realise there’s a climate where actually people are discussing it and it’s possible to live the way you want to be. Before they had to hide it, so I applaud the Scottish Government for that."