A group of actors in Germany have come out as LGBT+ en-masse, revealing that they have been warned to keep their identities a secret so their careers could thrive.
“Until now, we have not been able to talk openly about our private lives without fearing professional consequences,” the actors said in the manifesto.
“All too often, many of us have been cautioned – be it by managers, casting agents, colleagues, producers, editors, directors, etc – to keep quiet about our sexual orientations and gender identities to avoid jeopardising our careers.”
The actors said they decided to “come together” to put an end to such discriminatory attitudes.
German actors were told they would lose roles by coming out as LGBT+
They added: “We’ve been told that if we revealed certain facets of our identities, namely our sexual and gender identities, we would suddenly lose the ability to portray certain characters and relationships. As if the knowledge of who we are in our private lives would somehow invalidate our ability to convincingly embody roles for the audience.”
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The group went on to celebrate the fact that German society is increasingly diverse, but said this is “still hardly reflected in our cultural narratives”.
“Our society has long been ready. The viewers are ready. Our industry should stand for togetherness and reflect society in all of its diversity.”
Six of the actors spoke separately to Süddeutsche Zeitung about their experiences navigating the film, television and theatre worlds while also trying to keep their queer identities a secret.
“Reality should be as diverse on screen as it is in real life,” said Eva Meckbach, a well-known German actor who starred in the cult series Tatort.
“Society is much wider and more diverse than the decision-makers think.”
Meanwhile, Karin Hanczewski, who also starred in Tatort, said: “When we talked about it as a group, it suddenly became clear that this was how we could change something – as a group, as a big group.”
Together, the actors have launched the Act Out campaign, which encourages others in the industry to come forward to demand change and equal opportunities for LGBT+ actors.