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WGA's Brittani Nichols on Why Queer Fans Should Support the Writer's Strike

WGA's Brittani Nichols on Why Queer Fans Should Support the Writer's Strike

brittani nichols
brittani nichols

Nichols, a writer on Abbott Elementary, has been one of the faces of the Writer's Strike in Hollywood.

Brittani Nichols is a writer on ABC's hit show Abbott Elementary and she's also a captain of the Writer's Guild of America West. She's also queer. Nichols has been very outspoken about the ongoing writer's strike, being interviewed by CNN and other news outlets about it. Now, we've talked to her about why the LGBTQ+ community should support the writer's strike.

Out: How and why did you get involved with the Writer's Guild of America?

Brittani Nichols: I got enough credits to become an associate member in 2015 and later became a full member. I was stoked to be able to join a union because of the protections and community they provide and did so at the first opportunity. There's a pride that comes with being in the WGA. It feels like a sign that you've really made it as a writer.

Why are unions and this strike good for queer people?

Something I think hasn't been talked about a lot is how it feels to have your work devalued on an individual level. Every time I've been asked to repeat a level or not been offered what I deserve, it feels personal. It feels informed by being black, genderqueer, and gay and that my identity is part of the reason I'm being told I don't deserve to be promoted or paid well. And I think those experiences, while they happen to all writers, happen to PoC, disabled, and LGBTQ_ writers more. Standing up for yourself as an individual only gets you so far because in this case, it sometimes means not taking a job because you refuse to be disrespected in this way. The only way we can change what's happening is to stand together.

Why should queer TV fans support the strike?

Queer TV depends on us winning. The way TV is made is supposed to create a new crop of storytellers that are able to helm their own shows but right now, writers aren't being given the chance to learn how to make TV because of how shows are treated within the streaming model and this disproportionately affects queer shows. You have queer shows not being given an opportunity to find their footing, queer writers that aren't able to stick around in this industry because they're not making enough money to survive, and queer writers and creators not given the resources they need to one day create their own shows or run them successfully. If we don't stop the continued devaluation of our work, we'll see more queer shows being disappeared and more queer writers being pushed out of the profession.

Why should queer workers support the strike?

I think queer workers, like a lot of marginalized workers, are sometimes told to wait our turn. Workers in this country are constantly facing an existential threat as corporations want to extract as much value for the least amount of money as possible and keep us consumed with figuring out how we're going to pay rent so that we don't have the ability to speak to issues that specifically impact queer people. What queer writers in the guild are saying is that we need to be doing both at the same time. We won't just sit around and hope that eventually our fight will become everyone else's fight, too. We're either all in this together or we aren't. That's what solidarity is. So I hope when we win and we say we did it while fighting like hell not to leave anyone behind, it will help other queer workers make the case that they can't be left behind and furthermore, that it weakens the collective when that happens.

How can queer people support the strike?

If you're somewhere with a picket line, you can come picket with us! You can brush up on our issues to help battle the misinformation being peddled by the studios. They want people to forget about us and they think people won't notice. So keep the strike alive in your conversations and on social media. It's really heartening to know people are still paying attention.

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