Gay Entertainers Still Face Hollywood Discrimination, Bias, New Study Finds

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Hollywood is generally thought of as a hotbed of left-wing liberalism and as a place — and a business — friendly to gay people. Many Hollywood stars have publicly announced their support for same sex marriage and an increasing number have come out as gay, a development that would once have been unthinkable in an industry where public image is everything.

But according to a new study conducted by the SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents movie and TV actors, Hollywood remains biased against LGBT performers, with 16 percent of the LGBT actors who took part in the survey saying that they have experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the union by the Williams Institute at UCLA, had 5,700 actors respond. About 15 percent of those identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.

More than half of those reported hearing anti-gay comments while working on movie and TV sets.

About the same number believe that Hollywood bosses believe that marketing gay performers to the public is more difficult than selling their straight counterparts.

Most gay actors reported playing gay characters in Hollywood productions, but very few heterosexual actors said they had ever played a gay role.

Nine percent of gay and lesbian actors said they had been rejected for roles simply because of their sexual orientation.

"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,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA general counsel.

SOURCES: Los Angeles Times, Backstage, SAG-AFTRA