Homophobia still rife in Hollywood

SAG-AFTRA survey shows 16% of openly LGBT actors have experienced discrimination.

by Jennie Kermode

A new survey by the Screen Actor's Guild says that, despite improvements, Hollywood continues to be a hostile environment for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Based on input from 5,900 actors, most of whom did not identify as LGBT themselves, it found that most actors were supportive rather than prejudiced but the there was a widespread belief that producers and studio executives engaged in direct discrimination. 9% of lesbian and gay actors said they thought they had been turned down for at least one role because of their sexual orientation.

“We were pleased to see that our membership is overwhelmingly supportive of LGBT actors, and that many LGBT actors found benefits in coming out,” said the organisation's Chief Administrative Officer, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. "“Nonetheless, 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.”

The study found that LGBT people are more likely to be cast in LGBT roles, so the shortage of those roles, noted in a recent GLAAD survey, itself reduces the number of opportunities available for them. Gender non-conforming behaviour in men made them particularly vulnerable to discrimination and a quarter of all respondents who had played an LGBT character said they felt it had made it harder for them to get other kinds of role afterwards. Furthermore, over half the LGBT respondents said they had witnessed homophobic or transphobic behaviour on set whilst at work.

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