GLAAD study finds studio movies lagging in LGBT roles

GLAAD study finds studio movies lagging in LGBT roles
Chris Rock in a scene from
Chris Rock in a scene from “Top Five,” which GLAAD says was among the worst offending films in 2014 to present “outdated, defamatory stereotypes” of LGBT individuals. Paramount Pictures

NEW YORK — An annual study by GLAAD has found that Hollywood studios continue to lag in producing films representing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, despite a slight improvement over the last year.

Examining the 114 films released by the seven largest movie studios in 2014, the study found that 17.5 percent of them included characters identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual. There were no identifiably transgender characters.

The findings, released Wednesday, are a slight uptick from the 16.7 percent of “inclusive” movies from 2013.

But GLAAD, which promotes LGBT media representation, said that the majority of gay, lesbian or bisexual roles were minor and many were defined largely by their sexuality. Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, called on Hollywood to do better.

“As television and streaming services continue to produce a remarkable breadth of diverse LGBT representations, we still struggle to find depictions anywhere near as authentic or meaningful in mainstream Hollywood film,” said Ellis. “The industry continues to look increasingly out of touch by comparison, and still doesn’t represent the full diversity of the American cultural fabric.”

Hollywood has come under increasing scrutiny for the diversity found in its biggest releases. Other studies have been critical of the disproportionate representation of black, Hispanic and Asian characters in studio-distributed films.

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The issue drew particular attention in February’s Academy Awards, which notoriously featured only white acting nominees.

GLAAD has been examining studio output for the last three years. It looks at releases from Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, The Walt Disney Co. and Lionsgate. Warner Bros. was the only studio to receive a “good” score from the group.

All three years, GLAAD has found that studio comedies are the most LGBT-inclusive, accounting for nearly half of the films to feature LGBT people.

GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index can be found here.

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