US: Survey finds homophobia is still rife in Hollywood

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A study has found that over half of LGBT actors think directors are less likely to hire people because of their sexuality.

The research, conducted by the Williams Institute, surveyed 5300 members of the SAG-AFTRA union, previously known as the Screen Actors Guild.

It found that over half of LGBT respondents believed “that casting directors, directors, and producers may be biased against LGBT performers in hiring decisions”, while 34% of non-LGBT respondents believed the same.

Meanwhile, 20% of gay men and 13% of lesbians said they had directly experienced discrimination in the industry, compared to 10% for bisexual men and 6% for bi women.

45% of lesbian and gay respondents also strongly believed that studio executives see gay actors as less “marketable” – though just 15% of straight respondents agreed.

The study’s author M. V. Lee Badgett concludes: “We found that LGBT performers may have substantial barriers to overcome in their search for jobs.”

Traci Godfrey and Jason Stuart of the SAG-AFTRA LGBT Committee said: “Although our industry is heading in the right direction, there is clearly work left to do as certain attitudes and behaviours persist and continue to put pressure on actors to stay in the closet.

“[The study] reflects the realities performers face, so we can identify the obstacles to equal employment opportunities and full inclusion.”