A large group of actors came out in Germany to demand more LGBTQ+ diversity in film, television, and theater.
The LGBTQ+ actors — 185 of them — published a manifesto Friday in Süddeutsche Zeitung, a national magazine, detailing how previously the closet prevented them from coming forward about their demands.
"We identify, among other things, as lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, inter and nonbinary. Until now, we have not been able to talk openly about our private lives without fearing repercussions on our professional lives," they said in the statement.
One of those repercussions? The fear of losing the opportunity to portray straight people due to biases in casting. "We are actors. We don't have to be what we play. We act as though we were — that is our job," they added.
The actors also noted the lack of LGBTQ+ roles in scripts, which are predominantly filled with white straight men. "Of course I want to play characters that were originally written white or hetero," said Lamin Leroy Gibba, a Black theatrical star. "At the same time, I ask: Where are the Black and queer characters standing in the center of their own stories?"
Among the actors who came out is Eva Meckbach, 40, known for the 2012 film Home for the Weekend and the hit German drama series Tatort. "Reality should be as diverse onscreen as it is in real life," Meckbach told the magazine. "Society is much wider and more diverse than the decision-makers think," she said.
Karin Hanczewski, another Tatort star, said that coming out as a large group "was how we could change something."
The article's headline: "I come from a world that didn't tell me anything about myself."