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GLAAD film industry report card reveals lack of LGBT visibility

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Hollywood

LOS ANGELES — In its second annual report card on LGBT representation in motion pictures, media advocacy group GLAAD gives the film industry a mostly failing grade.

GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index (SRI), a report that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios during the 2013 calendar year, found that of the 102 releases from the major studios in 2013, only 17 of them included characters identified as LGBT.

The majority of these characters were minor roles or cameos, said GLAAD, and many of these were outright defamatory representations in films such as “Pain & Gain” and “Riddick.”

“The lack of substantial LGBT characters in mainstream film, in addition to the outdated humor and stereotypes suggests large Hollywood studios may be doing more harm than good when it comes to worldwide understanding of the LGBT community,” said GLAAD’s CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis.

“These studios have the eyes and ears of millions of audience members, and should reflect the true fabric of our society rather than feed into the hatred and prejudice against LGBT people too often seen around the globe,” she said.

Key findings from the report released Tuesday:

  • Out of the 102 releases GLAAD counted from the major studios in 2013, 17 of them (16.7%) contained characters identified as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Last year, GLAAD counted 14 inclusive films, however this is also the first year that Lionsgate Entertainment was included in the tally. Lionsgate released 3 inclusive films in 2013.
  • More than half of those inclusive films (64.7%) featured gay male characters, while another 23.5% featured lesbian characters, 17.7% contained bisexual characters, and 11.8% contained transgender female characters (better described as impressions). Male LGBT characters outnumbered female characters 64% to 36%.
  • Of the 25 different characters counted (many of whom were onscreen for no more than a few seconds), 19 were white (76%) while only 3 were Black/African American (12%), 2 were Asian/Pacific Islander (8%), and 1 was Latino (4%).
  • The most common place to find LGBT characters in the major studios’ 2013 releases were in comedies, where 8 of the 19 total comedies GLAAD counted (42.1%) were inclusive. By comparison, 43 genre films (action, sci-fi, fantasy, etc) made up the majority of the 2013 releases, though only 4 (9.3%) of those contained any LGBT characters.
  • Additionally, 5 of 28 dramas (17.9%) were inclusive, while there were no LGBT characters in any animated or family-oriented films or documentaries from the seven studios tracked.

Both Paramount and Warner Brothers received “failing” grades for including only minor and offensive portrayals of LGBT people in their 2013 releases. 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios received grades of “adequate.”

Sony Columbia was the first and only studio to receive a “good” score for several LGBT-inclusive films, including Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which was the only film tracked in the report that was also nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. No studio has yet received a grade of “excellent.”

The full report is here.

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