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As reported by the Hollywood Deadline, a recent study conducted by the Williams Institute found that more than half of Hollywood’s LGBT+ performers have faced discrimination at the hands of directors.
The study surveyed 5,700 SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) union members. The study stated that:
gay men were the most likely to report they have experienced some form of discrimination, with one in five reporting an experience. Bisexual actors were about half as likely to report discrimination as gay or lesbian actors. Gender nonconforming gay and bisexual men were more likely to experience discrimination, as were men who were out professionally.
The survey was presented at town hall meetings – ‘LGBT in Entertainment: Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity’ – held in Los Angeles at the SAG Foundation Actors Center and at the SAG-AFTRA boardroom in New York.
Most participants in the study revealed a darker side to Hollywood and its treatment of LGBT+ performers (Robb 2014):
A director told me to recast a role after he found out the lead was a gay male.
An openly gay extra was fired because the lead character felt uncomfortable having him around. In fact, two were fired a week apart for the same reason.
I’ve witnessed actors discarded following an audition as being ‘wrong’ for a role because of perceived sexual image. As in ‘he’s too fey to play it,’ or ‘she’s too butch to play it.
A friend almost cast a transgender actress and then found out and reconsidered because there would be a kiss with an actor and he did not know how the actor would feel.
People referred to the [transgender] performer as a ‘t*****’ and made references to using prostitution to pay for the procedures, all behind the performer’s back.
Female actress making a disgusted face and saying ‘he’s so gay’ towards a cast member. A general feeling of ‘I can’t talk too much to this guy’ from a TV crew towards an actor. All this needs to stop.
While many well known LGBT+ actors are out, proud, and even happily married to their partners, this study finds that there is still much to do when it comes to making Hollywood a safe place for all LGBT+ performers.