Equity, a union for actors and performers, is asking its queer members whether they've faced prejudice in the film industry and how they feel about being out. There is an online survey asking members about harassment, discrimination, safety and whether they were ever told to stay in the closet. Martin Brown, assistant general secretary for communications (Jesus, can't they just call him a publicist?) for Equity told The Stage, "The LGBT committee's experience of working in the entertainment industry is not the one that is commonly assumed, which is that it's easy to be straightforward about your sexuality. They have the opposite experience — that within training it's difficult or feels difficult to reveal you may be gay or lesbian, or that, at the start of careers, people think being out might damage them. The obvious example is that if a young male actor reveals he is gay, he may fear that he will not be cast in romantic leads."
It's interesting that Equity is investing its resources into understanding its members more thoroughly. Especially when one considers how many actors are afraid to come out. Lying to yourself, and the world, about who you are out of fear, or for any reason, has to be hugely psychologically, emotionally and spiritually detrimental. It's also too easy. "Oh I can't come out because then I won't make pussies damp anymore and no one will put me in a movie!" Wah, wah, wah. And well, not entirely true. It's too easy to create shields to hide behind instead of facing who you are. We have to demand bravery, or else there will never be change. If Zac Efron came out tomorrow (not that he's gay anywhere but in my mind), would it end his career? I'd still believe him playing a straight role, wouldn't you? You know, because he's an actor, so he plays characters that aren't himself… If you're talented and courageous enough, anything is possible. There is room for an openly gay actor playing action heros, romantic leads and all other kinds of studs, so long as we make room for him in our minds. And if he looks anything like Zac, in my bedroom.