Survey finds Hollywood not so LGBT+ friendly

Sean Weaver

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.

About Sean Weaver

Sean Weaver is a blogger, writer, and reader. He is a graduate student at Kutztown University, Pa studying English. Bodies and sexualities are his expertise. He spends his time being somewhat neurotic about the clothes he wears, the books he reads, the endless papers he writes, and his next hair cut. Queer is his middle name.