Numbers are difficult things, aren’t they?

Your story completely misconstrues the intention of the guide, which is seeking to redress the current lack of representation of the LGBT+ community in the arts.

What lack of representation?

John Gielgud and Ian McKellen give us our 2% gay among the theatrical knights, Redgrave gives us the bi- we need for balance.

Or to be a little less obtuse about it, current population numbers tell us that 2 to 3% of men are gay, 1 to 2% of women are lesbian and some few thousand out of 65 million of us are trans. And someone, somewhere, wants to try and tell us, with a straight face, that the portions, percentages, among artistes are lower than this?

Rilly?

36 thoughts on “Numbers are difficult things, aren’t they?”

  1. the current lack of representation of the LGBT+ community in the arts

    Yes, the arts is famously heterosexual. As Oscar Wilde once quipped, “tits oot for the lads!”

  2. I was watching an episode of Dr Who with an Austrian friiend, she commented on how handsome John Barrowman was. I said that he was massively gay and that his American accent was fake because he was really Scottish. She laughed and said “Silly boy all British actors are gay, everyone knows that!”

  3. Having been involved in casting for films I can assure anyone who was worried (!) that I have encountered zero evidence that anyone who is gay has been at a disadvantage. As is obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense and interest, openly gay people are over-represented in the acting profession.
    They are not all open to the public, and many must be not obviously gay even to those they work with. Their choice, and I have never dreamed of interrogating an actor as to whether they were gay and I doubt anyone normally would. However we do not live in normal times and now a production can be severely disadvantaged if it doesn’t have the required diversity hires.
    Now, for example, a film won’t get BAFTA nominated if it doesn’t have the required boxes ticked. Whether a single actor is gay or not could make the difference between the huge amount of added publicity of being in the running for awards or disappearing from view. This can make all the difference between a large profit and total loss for a small film. The situation is only likely to get worse.
    I previously didn’t care whether an actor was gay or not when hiring them. I hate the idea that I might now have to.

  4. “John Gielgud and Ian McKellen give us our 2% gay among the theatrical knights”

    It must be even more than 2%. There’s Derek Jacobi as well (I recently saw “Vicious” on Prime). And wasn’t the bloke who played Sir Humphrey gay (although not sure that was known when he was knighted)? And what’s Kevin Spacey these days?

    That five out of 79, which is over 6%. There may be some more too, but it has to be very public before I’d know.

    And then (as you’ve said before), you have to allow for changing social mores – I would guess it’s even higher if you just look at the ones who are alive.

    Of the 79 actors with knighthoods on that list (and I shouldn’t think there are many who don’t have a wikipedia page), most of them seem to be dead. Just from a quick glance, Dirk Bogarde, Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Henry Irving, Beerbohm Tree and Norman Wisdom are very definitely gone. Seem to remember hearing about Dickie Attenborough, Ken Dodd, John Hurt, Christopher Lee and Roger Moore all dying in the last few years. Surely Alex Guinness and Laurence Olivier can’t still be alive?

    I’d guess there’s only a couple of dozen of those still alive. Yes you’ve lost Gielgud from the gay list, but McKellen, Jacobi and Spacey out of 24 (if that’s the right number) would be 12.5% – way over the average.

  5. “and I have never dreamed of interrogating an actor as to whether they were gay and I doubt anyone normally would. However we do not live in normal times and now a production can be severely disadvantaged if it doesn’t have the required diversity hires.”

    Is this not catch 22?

    You either interview people on their sexual orientation – in which case open things up to legal action for discrimination and damage the production, or don’t interview, fail to hire diversely, and damage the production.

  6. Don’t think i’ve mentioned this before. Last year Moi attended panto auditions (first timer). The director’s first choice for Dame was very reluctant to read for it though. His dad was already cast as the villain, and as Dame he’d have to flirt with him outrageously.He was somewhat camp naturally, and as a good actor, he could easily turn it up to 11 but he just thought it would be wierd. Fair enough. So the director,after failing to persuade him was a bit anxious. Everyone else whom he nominated was just poor or far too young. And they started talking about people who weren’t there, perhaps so and so would do it, or maybe just maybe X. All this discussion and angst whilst a very very obvious choice was right in front of us. Also a newbie at this read through. A very deep rough voiced round bellied middle aged “lady” with an obviously invented name in a floral skirt, a floppy hat and a shawl,,, a shawl!. The other parts she read she was good but she was not even asked to read for the dame. Bizarre, and very British i thought, how no one mentioned it at all.

  7. Hallowed

    Isn’t the point about a pantomime dame that they must be a “man”? Straight, gay, camp, outrageously camp or whatever, but a “man”.

    If someone who is already a “man” considers themselves to be a “woman” that’s the disqualification there?

  8. Sorry pressed post too soon

    Hallowed

    Isn’t the point about a pantomime dame that they must be a “man”? Straight, gay, camp, outrageously camp or whatever, but a “man”.

    If someone who is a “man” already considers themself to be a “woman” that’s the disqualification there? In effect this geezer-bird has typecast themself as a woman, so can’t be a pantomime dame, which is only played by a man?

    And if the director had jumped on this bloke for the part, paradoxically it could have been offensive, because it would have reinforced the fact that IT was a man, when IT thinks it’s a woman?

    Tough this trannie stuff ain’t it?

  9. Dennis, He Who Is Bored of and by LGBT+ Whining

    I’d be interested to hear Carrie Marshall explain what insights sexual orientation provide the pianist playing a Beethoven sonata.

  10. yeah, i think that’s it or at least what would’ve been said if anyone had been brave enough to have suggested it.

  11. “I’d be interested to hear Carrie Marshall explain what insights sexual orientation provide the pianist playing a Beethoven sonata.”

    I wouldn’t.

  12. BraveFart
    November 5, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    “Is this not catch 22?”

    Exactly. Bad enough having to ask someone if they are gay, however straight-acting or otherwise they appear, if we have to get into asking men and women if they were actually born that way….!

  13. Bravefart
    ” this geezer-bird has typecast themself as a woman”

    Well, trypecast themselves as an unconvincing woman which, in normal times, would rule them out for the vast majority of roles.
    As I say though, we don’t live in normal times.

  14. Dennis, He Who Is Bored of and by LGBT+ Whining

    I wouldn’t.

    Come to think of it, neither would I.

    Thanks, Mr. Lud.

  15. When I read the title, thought it would be about Diane Abbott. Now that is a woman who would turn a straight man gay if she was the only option.

  16. Swerving from arts to economy, apparently 94% of the users of a service set up to support destitute people are destitute! Shock Horror! link

  17. @RichardT November 5, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Yes. Both Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey were gay, Bernard is suspected to be

    @Pemseivat

    Logically, Jeremy Corbyn is gay then

  18. “Isn’t the point about a pantomime dame that they must be a “man”? ”
    That is a horrible historical injustice. In the modern world surely it is obvious that the role of a dame *must* be played by a m2f transexual.
    Zhe was born to play the role.

  19. I went down Tim’s dastardly wiki rabbit hole so decided to do the numbers.

    79 actors knighted.
    61 Straight (married to females with no other contrary info)
    14 gay or bi – 18% may have been married but either came out at some point or some reason to believe .eg. gielguds arrest. .
    4 dunno- 5% not enough info.

    no Trans gender listed – but C. Aubrey Smith batted for several sides including Transvaal (and England)

  20. NDReader said:
    “That is a horrible historical injustice. In the modern world surely it is obvious that the role of a dame *must* be played by a m2f transexual.”

    Couldn’t it be played by a f2m transsexual, who would then dress up as a woman to play the part?

  21. Hallowed Be, thank you – I had a quick squint at the list but couldn’t be bothered to do it properly.

    Looks like the numbers are even higher than my guesstimate, but not surprising that there are many comings-out that I hadn’t heard of.

  22. “Couldn’t it be played by a f2m transsexual, who would then dress up as a woman to play the part?”
    Who do you think will be playing Peter Pan?

  23. Wasn’t a play about bar mitzvah criticised recently for lacking Jewish members of cast, when questioned the production team said they weren’t sure how someone knew to complain as it wasn’t a question they were allowed to ask even if they had wanted to

  24. Some surprises- Michael Gambon’s in the dunno camp. Peter Ustinov appears to have been straight. Alec Guiness happily married but allegedly there’s a cottaging incident in ’46 where he possibly gave a false name to the beaks.
    And seemed to confirm another luvvie stereotype. Didn’t actually note the numbers down but of the married straights i wouldn’t be surprised if the average number of marriages surpassed 2.

  25. Is it necessary to ask a homosexual if they are gay? I thouht they told you before you asked.

    What would a vegan homosexual mention first?

  26. Are not many actors in the pornographic side of movie making ‘gay for pay’? Transfer this to the more seemly side of the profession and the problem is solved.
    “We want to offer you the leading role in our upcoming movie, and we’ll give you an extra couple of points if you identify as gay whilst shooting “
    Sorted

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