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‘Troubling’ homophobia in entertainment industry

‘Troubling’ homophobia in entertainment industry

More than a third of gay actors and performers have experienced homophobia in the entertainment industry and only half are out to their agents, a survey has revealed.

The report by performing arts union Equity found that, although 81% of LGBT respondents are open about their sexuality and 94% are out to their fellow performers, only 57% have told their agents.

More worringly, 35% admit to experiencing homophobia in their professional lives.

Max Beckmann, Equity's equalities officer, says the survey's findings are 'troubling'.

Actor and president of Equity, Malcolm Sinclair, said: 'I have never felt that being gay has worked against me but the finding in Equity's own survey that just under half of all gay performers are not out to their agent in the UK is worrying.

'But then work is scarce and, whether sexuality is a barrier or not, people may just err on the side of caution. They don't want to test the water to see if it's all right.'

Actress Sophie Ward, who describes her experience of coming out in 1994 as a 'raw time', says she doesn't believe coming out is an issue in the entertainment industry any more.

'Yes, there is homophobia, as there is in any industry,' she admits.

'People who worry the most would be those up for leading male or female parts, where the audience is wanting to identify with and follow the story of those people.'