Briana Venskus said she was deemed not "authentically LGBTQ" enough for a role on a television show.
The actress, who portrays Beatrice on The Walking Dead and Agent Piper on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is out as a bisexual woman. In 2015, Venskus spoke with The Advocate about coming out to her mother, while walking the red carpet at the premiere of another show on which she has appeared, Netflix's queer comedy Grace & Frankie.
However, in a post last week on Instagram, Venskus said she was told that she lost a queer role on an unnamed production because this information was not available or apparent to the staff of the show.
After Venskus "picked my jaw up off the floor," she spoke out against the injustices queer actors face when they audition for roles in Tinseltown, including the stereotypes associated with how out entertainers should look and act.
"I'm so tired and frustrated with this Hollywood stereotype of LGBTQ," Venskus stated. "What does that even mean to be 'Authentic LGBTQ'? Do I not look the part to you? What does the 'part' of LGBTQ look like to you Hollywood if actual LGTBQ people can't even be seen as 'Authentic.' Why are we perpetuating the stereotypes and generalities that have been set for us by people who don't even know us?"
In recent years, Hollywood has faced a barrage of criticism for discriminatory casting practices, such as whitewashing and straightwashing productions, as well as habitually casting straight actors in LGBTQ roles.
Venskus posited in her post that a reactive hypersensitivity to making an "authentic" casting choice led them to overlook the strongest actor -- who ironically, just happened to be queer.
"Now I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of people especially with the major fuck ups of whitewashing in big budget movies, and yes that is WRONG," Venskus said. "I do however agree with an actors right to embody a part that is not naturally inherent to them. That is why it is in fact called...ACTING."
Venskus concluded her post with an unequivocal declaration of her queer identity.
"I am a bisexual woman, I am in the LGBTQ community, and I live AUTHENTICALLY every damn day," she declared.
Read the post below.
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