Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender actors believe they continue to face discrimination in Hollywood according to results of a survey released today by SAG-AFTRA, the country’s leading actors union, during its annual convention in Los Angeles.
SAG-AFTRA, which conducted the survey with UCLA’s Williams Institute, reports that 53 of LGBT respondents said they believe that directors and producers are biased against LGBT performers in hiring. Thirty-four percent of non-LGBT respondents share that belief. Thirty-one percent of all respondents believe that casting directors are biased against LGBT actors. The Williams Institute is a think tank associated with the UCLA School of Law that is dedicated to research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.
The survey, conducted in the Fall of 2012 among SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000 members drew responses from 5,692 of them, 14 percent of whom identified as LGBT.
Respondents also thought that lesbian, gay and bisexual actors are “marketable” as heterosexual romantic leads, but don’t think that most producers and studio executives share that belief. Over half of LGB actors reported hearing anti-gay comments about actors from directors and producers. About a fifth of them said had been made uncomfortable by comments by casting directors about their sexual orientation or gender expression.
The survey also found that while LGB performers are able to score roles similar to those of heterosexual actors, they have lower average daily earnings.
The SAF-AFTRA report says that the survey shows that “coming out is an important decision for LGBT performers, a decision with potential effects on those performers’ careers. They worried that being out will hurt their professional life…”
The study found that lesbian and gay actors are more likely to be out about their sexual orientation than are bisexual actors, a majority of whom said their orientation was not public.
Despite the respondents’ concerns about discrimination, 72 percent of gay men and lesbians surveyed said that coming out had had no effect on their careers and that they would encourage others to come out. Respondents also saw opportunities improving for LGBT actors.