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Study: LGBT performers have “substantial barriers” to finding work in Hollywood

Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain.
Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain.
(Focus Features)

Substantial in-roads have been made for gay and lesbian characters in film and TV in the last decade, but a new study has found that Hollywood might not be as gay friendly as you might expect, given that fact.

A survey of almost 6,000 members of SAG-AFTRA — a professional union representing over 165,000 actors and performance professionals — revealed that "LGBT performers may have substantial barriers to overcome in their search for jobs."

The study was funded by the SAG-Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund and was conducted by UCLA's Williams Institute. Here are several of its key findings:

  • Almost one in 10 respondents said they were turned down for a role because they were gay or lesbian — 4 percent of bisexuals reported similarly.
  • Fifty-three percent of LGBT performers believe directors and producers to be biased against hiring LGBT performers, while 34 percent of non-LGBT performers believe the same thing.
  • About 35 percent of those surveyed thought a performer playing a lesbian, gay, or bisexual role would be thought to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
  • One out of four actors believed that playing a lesbian, gay, or bisexual role "affected their later work."

The findings were presented during a SAG-AFTRA town hall on Wednesday. Here is a video of the event.

(H/t Deadline)