A recent study conducted by the Williams Institute at University of California, Los Angeles contradicted Hollywood’s flamboyant acceptance towards the gay community.
Data and first-hand reports from LGBT performers show signs of discrimination.
SAG-AFTRA’s LGBT Committee played a major role in the experiment that united 5,700 of its members to contribute to focus groups and surveys to tackle the inequality challenges and lack of employment opportunities that LGBT actors reportedly face.
“We found that LGBT performers may have substantial barriers to overcome in their search for jobs,” said the authors of the study, M.V. Lee Badgett and Jody L. Herman.
One-third of the participants believe that casting directors, producers, and directors are biased against the LGBT community, and it factors into their hiring decisions.
“A director told me to recast a role after he found out the lead was a gay male,” read a first-hand account directly from the study.
“I’ve seen gay men read for straight roles, and when they left the room, the casting director indicated that they would not be taken seriously in the straight role because they were gay,” read another.
Apparently, studio executives and producers think that LGBT performers are “less marketable” to the public than their heterosexual counterparts.
Research concludes that signing with an agency is less likely for the minority group, thus limiting their chances to work consistently.
More than half of the lesbian, gay, and bi-sexual entertainers who contributed to the study reported that “anti-gay” comments by directors, producers, cast, and crew are nothing out of the ordinary while on set.
Of those who responded to the survey, 20 percent of gay males and 13 percent of lesbian females claim they have experienced discrimination in the work environment.
In June of 2013, the Supreme Court declared a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that restricted federal benefits for gay couples to be unconstitutional. It also permitted same-sex marriage in California and 13 other states.
Following the historic verdict, social media went abuzz from Hollywood elite who couldn’t contain their excitement.
“Many have suggested that Hollywood, and particularly television, has helped move the country forward on the issue of marriage equality. If that is true, and my work played even a small part in that, I am humbled and reminded of the power of entertainment to enlighten as well as entertain,” Glee creator Ryan Murphy previously stated.
More stars turned to Twitter to support marriage equality prior to the court’s verdict.
“If you’re against marriage equality, please unfollow me. You can hate LOST all you want, but you can’t hate love,” said writer-producer Damon Lindelof.
Despite public support from the renowned SAG-AFTRA performers, producers, and directors, records indicate that many of their unsung LGBT teammates are struggling to find work and reluctant to voice their sexual orientation.
“Although our industry is heading in the right direction, there is clearly work left to do, as certain attitudes and behaviors persist and continue to put pressure on actors to stay in the closet,” national co-chairs of the SAG-AFTRA LGBT committee Jason Stewart and Traci Godfrey expressed.
This study, which was formally presented at the guild town halls in Los Angeles and New York recently, will hold Hollywood accountable for allegedly shunning the LGBT community.