After reading David Yost’s guest column in the Hollywood Reporter last month, I knew I had to ask a question that meant a lot to me: how are things now compared to then when it comes to being LGBTQ in Hollywood.
It’s important to me because I’m a transgender woman and working to develop my own sitcom pilot (based in Chicago, of course) with a transgender lead.
I asked Yost as to whether it was easier now with being LGBT and going into the industry compared to when he was starting out.
I would say in a lot of ways, yes, it’s definitely much easier. When I started in Hollywood, you certainly would never admit that you were gay. You certainly didn’t want people to know you were gay because you would not have a career. That’s sort of the issue that I think I ran into when I was on Power Rangers is that people were starting to assume and guess and couldn’t understand why I didn’t have a girlfriend and all that sort of stuff. The rumors started and I know for a fact that there was a fear that if people’s parents in the Midwest found out that one of the Power Rangers was gay in real life that it would ruin the ratings and so that’s sort of what I was up against.
I would say that that probably doesn’t exist so much anymore, which is great. We’ve made great strides but (clapping) but that being said, there’s still issues. I know a lot of gay actors that will never ever confess they are gay. Just recently, I know this guy’s probably too old for you guys but Barry Manilow–who is a singer–just came out as gay and that was my mom’s “like OMG, I love Barry Manilow.” He kind of hid that for 47 years and so that’s one of the mentalities that’s still kind of around in Hollywood but you definitely see a lot of gay characters, a lot of trans characters. There’s a lot of great shows now. Transparent is one of my favorite shows. It’s an amazing show. We’re making strides. There’s actors like Neil Patrick Harris–people that are in the forefront–Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, amazing actor. We’re making progress but we still have a long ways to go.
Does that answer your question?
Compared to my photo ops before and after, I think I was more nervous asking a question during the Power Rangers panel!