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Ryan Murphy Calls Out Homophobia in the Entertainment Industry

Ryan Murphy & David Miller
Kai Z Feng

The Feud creator recalls being mocked for his flamboyant attributes.

There's no business like show business for LGBTQ people. Although it's seemingly a vast array of queer professionals, it's still not the inclusive utopia one might imagine. Twenty years ago, it was even worse.

Related | Ryan Murphy Interviews Jessica Lange on Fame, Feuds & the Feminine Mystique

Ryan Murphy recently stopped by the podcast, I Think You're Interesting, where he opened up about some of his early struggles in the industry. In addition to having an agent who was fired for being gay, the American Horror Story and The Feud creator found himself the subject of homophobia on more than one occasion.

"I had one meeting with an executive about a script and I showed up at the meeting and he started imitating my voice and sort of making feminine hand gestures, which I don't have. I never thought that my voice was gay until he repeated it back to me, but I literally was stunned into silence. He was just being really, really brutal to me."

The struggles continued even after he found success with Glee. Getting LGBTQ representation on television was a difficult challenge. Executives constantly asked him to take out flamboyant language or change characters' wardrobes that appeared too gay, even if it was worn by straight women.

"Then two things happened," he said. "It just sort of made me mad, so I just sort of leaned into it and, you know, I wrote a bisexual character. I started to write about lesbianism. I had gay characters. I would say, 'No. I won't do it. Why do you want it taken out?'"

Murphy's latest show, The Feud looks at an era of Hollywood that is still revered as iconic. Yet, it was one of the worst times for representation, and progress toward a diverse and inclusive atmosphere has only slowly become a reality.

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