LGBT Actors Still Face Discrimination, Survey Says
By Ryan Faughnder
September 27, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Not even typically liberal Hollywood is free of anti-gay bias, according to a new study.
A survey of SAG-AFTRA members found that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender actors continue to face discrimination when looking for work, though opportunities are increasing.
About a third of those who responded to the survey by UCLA’s Williams Institute and the entertainment union said that directors, casting directors and producers may be biased against LGBT performers.
The study, to which roughly 5,700 people responded, also said more than half of LGBT performers had heard anti-gay comments while on set.
“Coming out remains a significant and consequential decision for many performers, and we are committed to supporting our members in living honest and authentic personal and professional lives,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s chief administrative officer and general counsel, in a statement.
The report was unveiled at a news conference during the inaugural SAG-AFTRA National Convention in Los Angeles.
The findings showed that almost half of gay and lesbian respondents strongly agreed that producers and studio bosses think it’s harder to market LGBT performers. About 27% of bisexual participants strongly agreed.
Bias over sexual orientation also appears to influence what roles performers seek and accept. The survey said the fast majority of heterosexual actors have never played an LGBT character, while most gay and lesbian performers have.
Some performers said the decision to play those roles had made it harder to get jobs playing straight characters.
About 15% of the people who responded to the survey identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
This follows a recent study by GLAAD that said there was a significant lack of LGBT characters and story lines in movies released by the biggest film studios last year.