The WGA West’s LGBTQ+ Writers Committee despatched an open letter to Hollywood on Friday urging the movie and tv business to make use of extra LGBTQ+ writers, fight ongoing discrimination, and to extra precisely replicate the lives and historical past of the homosexual group.

The letter, which was launched prematurely of L.A.’s Satisfaction Celebration this weekend, says the business’s historical past is “steeped in a long time of codified bigotry towards the LGBTQ+/queer group,” however notes that this discrimination “shouldn’t be an issue of the previous.” Certainly, the letter notes that previously 5 years, 22% of the 158-member committee “report having been the goal of overt discrimination and/or harassment in an business setting primarily based on their id. That quantity jumps to 57% when taking a look at micro-aggressions.”

It additionally notes that 22% of the committee’s members surveyed “report being turned down throughout the previous 5 years for a employees job, a gathering to get on a present, and/or having a script learn for staffing as a result of the author’s room ‘already has an LGBTQ+ author,’ ” and that 25% reported that they have been they have been “all the time” or “typically” the one LGBTQ+ author within the room. “The persevering with, systemic forces of heteronormativity and bigotry are stopping us from rising within the ranks, and from being employed within the first place.”

“Hollywood can do higher, and so Hollywood should do higher,” the letter states, and gives “some good locations to begin,” together with:

• Learn us. Get to know us. Rent us. Rent multiple of us in your TV author’s room. Purchase tasks from us. Pay us. Pay us what we’re price. Discover us within the WGA Listing by specifying Author’s Background, or by contacting our committee.

• 30% of our members report being requested to seek the advice of on a challenge due to their LGBTQ+ id. If you’re trying to inform a narrative a couple of particular queer POV – fairly than rent a cishet (an individual who identifies because the intercourse they have been born as) author, solely to later carry us in to realize a level of authenticity – rent a queer author on the outset.

• Pay attention once we inform you an LGBTQ+ storyline, scene, character, or line of dialogue is problematic or inauthentic. Once we communicate up, it’s not a private assault. It is a chance to dig deeper and do higher.

• In case your program, fellowship, or competitors exists to uplift underrepresented and marginalized voices, LGBTQ+ individuals should be included.

• Do the work to teach your self on the identities and phrases that comprise our group. Respect our names, pronouns, and bounds. Don’t cease attempting whenever you stumble, or since you are afraid to ‘get it mistaken.’

• In 2021 alone, over 100 payments concentrating on the transgender group have been proposed, and dozens enacted into regulation. A lot of our productions are in these states. Hollywood should get up and vociferously communicate out towards the wave of anti-trans laws, not merely with phrases, however with actions. The business has spoken out towards anti-abortion and anti-voting legal guidelines prior to now. We should do the identical now.

Right here is the complete textual content of the letter:

Pricey Hollywood,

We see you. Do you see us?

Our business is in a interval of lengthy overdue reckoning. For many years, gatekeepers have been rewarded for locking probably the most marginalized voices out of the room – whether or not that be the boardroom or the author’s room. The system is damaged.
As management of the WGAW’s LGBTQ+ Writers Committee, we’re right here to inform you that the combat for inclusion and visibility has hardly begun.

We’re midway by way of Satisfaction Month, when LGBTQ+ individuals and our allies come collectively to rejoice who we’re, individually and collectively. Whereas it’s also a time to acknowledge how far we’ve come, it’s plain that there are – to cite a terrific author – “miles to go earlier than we sleep.”

The business’s storied historical past can also be one steeped in a long time of codified bigotry towards the LGBTQ+/queer group. A few of America’s most treasured cultural and inventive achievements have been launched beneath the “ethical pointers” of the Movement Image Manufacturing Code (aka the Hays Code). These pointers meant that overtly LGBTQ+ characters have been completely absent from main studio tasks, besides to be ridiculed, pitied, or pilloried. Way more typically, they existed solely in subtext, trapped in a celluloid closet.

The portrayals of Hollywood’s previous — and current — are answerable for exacerbating dangerous stereotypes and stigmas which have continued by way of generations. Notion bleeds into after which turns into actuality. We’ve been taught to see ourselves as ‘The Different,’ simply because the heteronormative majority has been taught to see us. Even in a post-Hays Code panorama, the prevailing narrative has not allowed LGBTQ+ characters the complete scope of our humanity. Too typically, we’re diminished to our collective traumas – popping out, victimization, the AIDS disaster, being murdered for our identities.

GLAAD’s 2021 “The place We Are in TV” report has proven progress, however in movie, LGBTQ+ illustration is lagging. Of the 118 movies launched by the most important studios in 2019, a mere 22 – solely 18.6% – included a single LGBTQ+ character. Of these, solely 9 featured an LGBTQ+ character for greater than ten minutes of display screen time. And, in fact, the statistics are way more dire when taking a look at illustration for queer BIPOC and queer disabled characters.

However on-screen visibility – or lack thereof – shouldn’t be all the story of how Hollywood continues to fail the LGBTQ+ group, and LGBTQ+ storytellers.

Final month, in a survey of 158 members of the WGAW’s LGBTQ+ Committee, a staggering 46% of writers reported that they’ve hidden their id – or felt compelled to take action – in an business surroundings. Even when narrowing focus to the previous 5 years, that quantity stays at 25%. When requested why, the highest three most cited causes have been: concern of discrimination; concern of not getting or shedding a job; and never eager to be stereotyped. One committee member defined: “Once you develop up not becoming in, feeling endangered, and attempting not to attract consideration to your self, it’s laborious to let that go. I suppose I didn’t wish to be diminished to 1 side of my being.”

We should problem any surroundings the place queer writers really feel the necessity to disguise their id. And we should ask what number of artists aren’t out in any respect, or have stop the business altogether – particularly throughout the extra underrepresented and intersectional elements of our group: transgender, non-binary, intersex, BIPOC, disabled, over 55, and so on.

Up to now 5 years, 22% of LGBTQ+ Committee members report having been the goal of overt discrimination and/or harassment in an business setting primarily based on their id. That quantity jumps to 57% when taking a look at micro-aggressions.
LGBTQ+ discrimination shouldn’t be an issue of the previous. Hollywood can now not disguise behind good intentions, progressive values, or marriage equality.

Queer individuals proceed to dwell in concern of being who we’re, in a rustic that continues to marginalize us, invalidate us, erase us, and deny us our fundamental entry to housing, employment, and healthcare. Our business’s present well being plans present transgender writers with extremely restricted entry to gender-affirming care. By comparability, transgender part-time staff of Starbucks obtain the best normal of care, as beneficial by the World Skilled Affiliation for Transgender Well being. However as of the publishing of this letter, we’ve trans of us at each degree who should take into account various employment to be able to have extra inclusive protection. It’s time for the business to do higher by our transgender group.

Though LGBTQ+ individuals share a tradition, a psychology, and a historical past of political and non secular oppression – we’re, with uncommon exception, not thought of an underrepresented or marginalized group amongst Hollywood circles. We’re omitted of variety stories and fellowship alternatives. Our scripts are sometimes not submitted in response to requests for “various voices” as a result of our representatives are advised that being LGBTQ+ “doesn’t rely.” All of the whereas, there are nonetheless reveals with queer characters on display screen, however no queer writers within the room – not to mention a author who matches and may communicate to the particular id of the character. Continuously, studio executives blame the very legal guidelines meant to guard LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination, claiming they can’t legally inquire about our sexualities or gender identities. The actual fact is, we’re telling you the way we self-identify. Now, we demand you worth us and embrace us.

If you happen to imagine the business already does, suppose once more. Twenty-two % of surveyed LGBTQ+ Committee members report being turned down throughout the previous 5 years for a employees job, a gathering to get on a present, and/or having a script learn for staffing as a result of the author’s room “already has an LGBTQ+ author.” The LGBTQ+ group shouldn’t be a monolith. We’re not interchangeable. But our identities proceed to be tokenized and our voices minimized by this “there can solely be one” mentality – 25% reported they have been “all the time” or “typically” the one LGBTQ+ author within the room. This burdens the singular queer author with the burden of illustration for all the acronym, which is especially difficult to navigate on the decrease ranges.

Sadly, this is identical sort of box-checking different underrepresented teams face, and it should cease throughout the board. We refuse to really feel lucky to easily be allowed a seat on the desk, just for our presence for use as a “rainbow defend” whereas our views are ignored.

In the identical manner the success of Shonda Rhimes doesn’t imply Hollywood has mounted its racist historical past of suppressing Black voices, the existence of Greg Berlanti or Ryan Murphy doesn’t imply LGBTQ+ writers as an entire have “made it.” Actually, an amazing 72% of TV writers on the Rainbow Pages – an unbiased database of queer WGA members – are low-level, have written freelance episodes, or haven’t but staffed in any respect. The persevering with, systemic forces of heteronormativity and bigotry are stopping us from rising within the ranks, and from being employed within the first place.

Writers aren’t alone on this. We stand in solidarity with our queer siblings in different business unions who’re struggling the identical marginalization, and we should additionally acknowledge the distinctive challenges they endure as administrators, actors, and crew members.
Hollywood can do higher, and so Hollywood should do higher. Though this record shouldn’t be exhaustive or all-encompassing, listed below are some good locations to begin:

• Learn us. Get to know us. Rent us. Rent multiple of us in your TV author’s room. Purchase tasks from us. Pay us. Pay us what we’re price. Discover us within the WGA Listing by specifying Author’s Background, or by contacting our committee.
• Thirty % of our members report being requested to seek the advice of on a challenge due to their LGBTQ+ id. If you’re trying to inform a narrative a couple of particular queer POV – fairly than rent a cishet author, solely to later carry us in to realize a level of authenticity – rent a queer author on the outset.
• Pay attention once we inform you an LGBTQ+ storyline, scene, character, or line of dialogue is problematic or inauthentic. Once we communicate up, it’s not a private assault. It is a chance to dig deeper and do higher.
• In case your program, fellowship, or competitors exists to uplift underrepresented and marginalized voices, LGBTQ+ individuals should be included.
• Do the work to teach your self on the identities and phrases that comprise our group. Respect our names, pronouns, and bounds. Don’t cease attempting whenever you stumble, or since you are afraid to “get it mistaken.”
• In 2021 alone, over 100 payments concentrating on the transgender group have been proposed, and dozens enacted into regulation. A lot of our productions are in these states. Hollywood should get up and vociferously communicate out towards the wave of anti-trans laws, not merely with phrases, however with actions. The business has spoken out towards anti-abortion and anti-voting legal guidelines prior to now. We should do the identical now.

There’s a great value to Hollywood’s pervasive, systemic bigotry. This value can’t solely be tallied in {dollars} – although we might be aware a UCLA examine revealed in October 2020 that estimated studios lose as much as $130 million per movie as a result of an absence of genuine variety. Each June, multinational firms have interaction in Rainbow Capitalism, chasing Pink Cash. We should ask: simply how a lot income does Hollywood lose annually as a result of it rejects LGBTQ+ tales and storytellers?
The tales we inform, the tales you greenlight, decide the long run that LGBTQ+ youth envision for themselves. What we see on-screen and the way we’re represented informs what we imagine is feasible.

It’s present-day Hollywood’s accountability to make proper all of the hurt brought on by Hollywood’s previous. The notion that even a single queer character can be deemed an excessive amount of of a danger in our more and more international market is unacceptable. Reject this concept, or knowingly select to reject us. Both manner, we see you.



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