Julie Andrews has spoken about her support of LGBT equality, insisting she has “always” been an ally of the gay community.
The legendary screen star, known for her roles in classic musicals including The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, told The Advocate that despite being aware of prejudice as a youngster growing up in 1940s Britain, she “couldn’t understand it”.
The 81-year-old is currently appearing in her own Netflix children’s show, Julie’s Greenroom, which made headlines earlier this year for its inclusion of a gender-nonbinary puppet character named Riley.
Asked when she first realised she was an ally of the LGBT community, Andrews replied: “That’s hard to answer, because, just always!”
The Oscar-winning actress, who rose to fame starring in Broadway musicals such as My Fair Lady in the 1950s added: “Theatre, anyway, is such an open community and free. I don’t think there’s been a time when I haven’t been [an ally].”
She continued: “I have to say, though, in my hometown, in my community, I was very aware of bias and bigotry, and couldn’t understand it.
“I was raised not to be that way and not to think that way, and it always seemed puzzling to me that the world wasn’t just embracing human beings. But it’s never been something that I stumbled on. It’s just always been innate, thanks I think to the professions that I am in. But also the way I was raised.”
Of Julie’s Greenroom, which debuted on Netflix back in March sees Julie educate children about the world of theatre with the help of her puppet students, Andrews pointed to another puppet character, Hank, as an example of the show’s diversity.
“We tried to be as inclusive as we possibly could within the show,” the Princess Diaries star explained. “Hank has a handicap and yet it’s not really a problem, and he manages his life wonderfully and contributes so much.”
The much-loved actress also had a message for US lawmakers who continue to marginalise transgender people with the introduction of so-called ‘bathroom bills’ that prevent them from using public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. pleading:
Andrews pleaded: “Please keep an open mind. Please think.”