Actors who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender continue to face discrimination and bias in the entertainment industry, despite supportive stances taken by fellow performers, according to a report released Friday by the SAG-AFTRA acting union.
"We were pleased to see that our membership is overwhelmingly supportive of LGBT actors, and that many LGBT actors found benefits in coming out,'' according to Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA's chief administrative officer and attorney. "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.''
According to the report more than one-third of LBGT performers reported witnessing disrespectful treatment, and 16 percent had experienced discrimination, with gay men reporting the most difficulty.
Almost half of the lesbian and gay performers surveyed for the report felt that producers and studio executives thought they were less marketable.
The report also found that 29 percent of heterosexual performers have never played a lesbian or gay role, but 58 percent of lesbian or gay performer have.
"Some study respondents felt that choosing to play an LGBT character limited future casting opportunities,'' according to Jody L. Herman of the Williams Institute at UCLA's School of Law, which worked with the union on the study.
"Given LGBT actors are significantly more likely to play LGBT characters, these actors are disproportionately impacted by any casting bias based on prior LGBT roles,'' Herman said.