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SAG-AFTRA Strongly Supporting LGBT Actors Amid Lingering Bias

SAG-AFTRA leaders have unanimously issued a strongly worded pledge to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender actors in the wake of a study showing that discrimination persists on sets and casting rooms.

The survey, based on responses from over 5,600 union members, showed nearly half of lesbian and gay respondents and 27% of bisexual respondents “strongly agreed” that producers and studio execs believe that lesbian and gay performers are less marketable.

The report, issued at last week’s inaugural SAG-AFTRA convention, also found that over a third of LGBT performers — as well as some non-LGBT performers — had witnessed “disrespectful” treatment toward these minorities. And 16% of LGBT respondents reported they had experienced discrimination.

Delegates to the convention unanimously approved a resolution recognizing and supporting the union’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members and their rights to equal employment opportunity and discrimination-free workplaces.

“SAG-AFTRA has both the responsibility and the opportunity to take short, mid, and long-term action to achieve substantial improvements in equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination for all underrepresented groups, including our LGBT members,” part of the resolution read.

“This resolution unanimously passed by the convention delegates only reinforces what the study found: our membership community as a whole – regardless of sexual orientation – is aware of and sensitive to the issues SAG-AFTRA LGBT members face every day working in the entertainment industry,” said Traci Godfrey and Jason Stuart, co-chairs of the union’s LGBT committee. “Our members have witnessed discrimination and harassment of LGBT performers and they recognize it is a major issue.”

The resolution was submitted jointly by the union’s national officers, including President Ken Howard, Exec VP Gabrielle Carteris, Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino, and VPs Clyde Kusatsu, Mike Hodge, Ilyssa Fradin, David Hartley-Margolin, Robert Newman, Catherine Brown and Dan Navarro.

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