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Even In Hollywood, LGBT Discrimination Is Common: Study

A SAG-AFTRA study suggests more than half of LGBT performers have felt discriminated against.
Posted at 2:56 PM, Sep 13, 2014

Hollywood might not be as progressive as we thought. 

At a town hall event this week, performers union SAG-AFTRA revealed a new study that suggests most gay and lesbian members of the entertainment industry have faced some discrimination or harassment.

The study featured nearly 6,000 entertainment professionals and found more than half of LGBT performers have felt discriminated against because of their sexual orientation while working in the industry. 

Over the past few years, we have seenmore gay characters being written into movies and TV shows. And that's drawn praise from gay rights groups. But, this study suggests that actually might not be helpingthe cause as much as was hoped. 

The study found that LGBT performers often get typecast into playing gay characters and have difficulties landing different roles throughout their career as a result. 

Glee's Chris Colfer has spoken out about his experience being typecast, "People tried typecasting me before they even saw me in anything else. I never understood that. Why don’t you wait until my next project before you start telling what my career is going to look like."

And some actors choose not to come out of the closet for fear of being typecast. Publicist Howard Bragman told The Star an actor's decision to come out is not an easy one; "There’s a lot of resistance within the Hollywood industry, which says ‘you can’t be perceived as a leading man or woman’ (if you’re gay).”

SAG-AFTRA officials say the goal of this study was to create awareness that LGBT discrimination is still a problem in the entertainment industry and to possibly inspire professionals to change their thinking. 

SAG-AFTRA Co-Chairs Traci Godfrey and Jason Stuart wrote,"although our industry is heading in the right direction, there is clearly work left to do...We are confident that this unprecedented study will have profound ramifications for the entertainment industry as a whole."

And it appears they did succeed in creating awareness. After the study was released, the media was flooded with headlines about how Hollywood is not as "gay friendly" as everyone thought.  

​While headlines suggest these results come as a surprise, they probably shouldn't be. SAG actually released a similar study just last year. That study noted an increase in opportunities for LGBT performers, but said discrimination was still all too prevalent.