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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 12 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 37
Show biz not that Gay-friendly, new study says
Section One
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Show biz not that Gay-friendly, new study says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

In spite of a growing number of out Gay and Lesbian entertainers, show business is not as Gay-friendly as it's supposed to be, a new study by UCLA's Williams Institute shows.

In a survey of 5,700 members of SAG/AFTRA (Screen Actors' Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Actors), the Institute found substantial evidence of anti-Gay bias.

While 72% of LGBT respondents said that being out on the job 'had no effect on their careers, and many would encourage other LGBT performers to come out,' 22% of Gay men and 13% of Lesbians reported they had experienced discrimination in the workplace.

An astonishing '53% of LGBT respondents believed that directors and producers are biased against LGBT performers,' the study said.

More than half of LGBT performers 'have heard directors and producers make anti-gay comments about actors' and more than one-third reported that they had witnessed 'disrespectful treatment' of LGBT performers on the set.

Almost one in eight straight performers reported witnessing discrimination against their LGBT colleagues, including anti-Gay comments by crew, directors, and producers.

According to the study, 'gay men were the most likely to report they have experienced some form of discrimination, with one in five reporting an experience.' Gender nonconforming Gay and Bi men were more likely to experience discrimination, as were men who were out professionally.

Because of such experiences, LGBT performers did not feel confident in being out to all their show business colleagues, especially those in a position to hinder their careers.

'While 53% of lesbian and gay actors were out to all or most of their fellow actors, only 36% are out to all or most agents they know, and only 13% of actors are out to all or most industry executives,' the study found.

'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,' Traci Godfrey and Jason Stuart, national co-chairs of the SAG-AFTRA LGBT Committee, wrote in a statement.

'We are confident that this unprecedented study will have profound ramifications for the entertainment industry as a whole. By utilizing the data it contains as it reflects the realities performers face, we can identify the obstacles to equal employment opportunities and full inclusion.'

Williams Institute, part of UCLA Law School, has been researching economic disparities that affect the LGBT community since 2001.

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