OVER half of LGBT performers in the US entertainment industry believe directors and producers have an anti-LGBT hiring bias, according to a new study.

The study by UCLA’s LGBT think tank Williams Institute found 53 per cent of LGBT respondents believed a bias existed, with many arguing producers and studio executives think lesbian, gay and bisexual actors are “less marketable” than heterosexual actors, particularly as romantic leads.

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A quarter of lesbian, gay and bisexual actors believed playing a gay role affected their later careers, and over one third of all respondents believed “playing gay” would create the perception an actor was gay.

Over half of LGBT performers in the study had heard anti-LGBT comments on set, and one in five gay men had experienced discrimination directly.

Although lesbian, gay and bisexual actors were receiving similar roles to their heterosexual counterparts, rates of pay were also lower for many, with LGB actors earning less on average.

Perceptions of anti-LGBT attitudes in the industry also affected decisions around coming out, with many performers less likely to be out to industry professionals than to their friends and family. A majority of bisexual performers were not out at all.

Despite the reports of widespread discrimination and harassment, a majority of both LGBT and heterosexual respondents believed the industry was getting better on sexual and gender diversity.

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