Gay Actors 'Discriminated Against In Hollywood', Says Report

Ben Arnold
Contributor

Though much is made of sexuality not hampering the careers of performers, it seems that the reality of being gay in Hollywood may tell a slightly different story.

A new report published by the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has concluded that many gay performers have experienced some form of discrimination or homophobia while working.

The research, conducted by the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA, surveyed 5,700 SAG-AFTRA members in 2012.

Over 50% said that they had heard either directors or producers making derogatory, anti-gay comments, with 53% of LGBT respondents believing that directors and producers are biased against LGBT performers in hiring.

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Meanwhile, a third of LGBT actors who took part in the research said that they had witnessed disrespectful treatment of other gay actors on set, with an eighth of non-LGBT actors saying they had also seen such behaviour.

9% said that they had ben turned down for a role because the director, casting director or producer believed them to be gay.

Another gay actor said: “Despite being gay, some casting agents/directors won’t even hire me for gay roles, because they don’t feel I ‘look’ gay.”

However, there were also positive results from the survey, with 72% of gay actors saying that coming out had no effect on their careers, and would encourage other LGBT performers to do so too.

80% of respondents also agreed that transgender performers can play non-transgender roles equally as well as non-trans performers, though LGBT respondents are less likely than straight respondents to have an agent, which may put LGBT performers at a disadvantage when looking for work.