EXCLUSIVE: Ten days ago, The WGA West’s LGBTQ+ Writers Committee sent an impassioned open letter to Hollywood, urging the film and television industry to employ more queer writers, combat ongoing discrimination and bigotry and increase authentic on-screen representation of the LGBTQ+ community.
A new industry group, Out In Hollywood, has a similar goal. Founded during the pandemic by industry professionals, the organization is advocating for untold and unseen LGBTQIA+ inclusive stories, curated by proudly out studio/network executives and producers. The group’s founding board is comprised by development and current executives Ameet Shukla of One Community; Logan Kriete of Escape Artists; Maija Gustin, an independent producer; Rebecca Vail of Peacock; and Renee Reiff of Chaos Machine.
Similar to another Hollywood advocacy group, the female-focused WeForShe and its annual WriteHer list, Out In Hollywood on Wednesday launched the Out Loud List, a list of the best unproduced pilot scripts that center on stories of gay, lesbian, bisexual, pan, ace, transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary or otherwise queer characters. Released to coincide with Pride Month, the idea for the Out Loud List is to become an annual initiative, with Out In Hollywood also working on panels and mentorship opportunities to roll out later this summer.
The Out Loud List was curated based on feedback from members of the queer Hollywood community who were asked to nominate the favorite script they had read over the past year that meets the criteria. The identified scripts then underwent a blind evaluation process, with the board, along with a select group of volunteers (all queer-identifying, out producers, studio, and network executives), reading each script multiple times and ranking them using metrics such as GLAAD’s Vito-Russo Test (similar to the Bechdel test). The extensive process led to the final selection of the top 10 scripts on the inaugural list, designed to elevate voices and material of quality, industry-vetted writers in different stages of their careers.
Out In Hollywood has the support WGA West’s LGBTQ+ committee. In speaking about their motivation for creating Out In Hollywood, Kriete and Reiff cited the committee’s open letter, which revealed that more than a fifth of working writers in TV were declined meetings for staffing simply because the show “already had an LGBTQ+ writer.” The duo noted that they have seen projects rejected from buyers citing the same reason, that they “already have a gay show.”
“As an industry, we need to do better, and realize that the queer community encompasses a host of diverse, intersectional stories. There is room for many of them at the same time, and there is room for many of us at the same time. We need more queer writers telling the stories of queer people,” Kriete and Reiff said. “We know that amplifying queer voices—even if just taking a general meeting—ultimately leads to better representation broadly. It leads to a more nuanced and inclusive vision of being a human, to new ways of seeing the world, and to a seat at the table.”
Here is Out In Hollywood’s inaugural Out Loud List, with brief synopsis of each script and contact information for its writer:
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