LGBT artists, actors, directors and writers, all have a unique and steep hill to climb. Being a female actor who is lesbian, is no less challenging as the years advance. Why, we only have to look at sexism in the film industry itself to know how difficult it is to find work. Only 12% of all protagonists are female in film and the stats are worse if you are Black, Latina or Asian, something like 4%. Horrible. Female characters are always younger than male counterparts and women are sexualized and objectified. There are no percentage stats on lesbian characters in film that I am aware of. We are invisible. It does not matter how many nominations one has or how many decades of experience, it does get harder if you are an out lesbian actor. Period.
Certainly the same can be true for women who are out in other industries, but I think because the heterosexual, white, male-dominated culture is reflected back to us through the art we consume, the films and television shows we watch, and the books we read (though there has been some progress), one knows without a doubt that the changes we desire are not happening at a fast enough rate to employ, dignify, or reflect the truth of our culture with regard to race, sexuality, and gender expression, in all art forms. Lesbians who are out, who don’t pass as feminine, who are feminist and not interested in playing roles that fit into the dominant culture- are often rendered invisible.
As I age, I am less fearful of speaking out and challenging the status quo, of naming the truth. Culture often blames marginalized groups of people because it’s easy to do, to deflect, but one of these days we are going to rise as women, lesbians, and transgendered people, and we will not only name what it is like and create content for ourselves (which we are thankfully doing), but we will expose what the last fifty to a hundred has been like for us and who the players were/are.
It’s great to be on the right side of history though, no matter how hard it has been. I’m not certain the fat-cats care, but certainly writing has given me more power and a new path for giving voice to the unspoken.
Ah…to the future, and to the next generation.