GLAAD Finds ‘Inadequate’ LGBT Representation in Hollywood

Says studios are "reluctant" to include LGBT characters in big-budget action and comic book franchises

In its first-ever study of Hollywood, non-profit org GLAAD says only 14 films from last year contained LGBT characters, calling its findings “inadequate.”

Most of the characters in the 101 films GLAAD surveyed were just minor roles or cameos, according to the org. None of the characters identified as transgender, and fewer than half passed GLAAD’s new “Vito Russo” test of how LGBT characters are portrayed.

“As a major influence in American culture and one of our nation’s largest media exports abroad, the lack of LGBT characters in big-budget films needs to change,” said GLAAD’s national spokesperson Wilson Cruz in a statement announcing the org’s findings. “Until LGBT characters are depicted in these films in a substantial way with more regularity, there will remain the appearance of LGBT bias on the studios’ part.”

According to the report, more than half of the 14 films included gay male characters, 33% featured lesbians and 11% included bisexual characters. Male characters represented 63% of LGBT images on screen, and more than 84% of all characters were white.

Universal released four films with LGBT characters, the most out of the six majors. 20th Century Fox released zero. GLAAD said comedies were the most likely to have featured people identifying as LGBT, and said that studios seemed “reluctant” to include LGBT characters in comic book adaptations and action franchises.

In the absence of more substantial roles, GLAAD’s study called for LGBT characters to at least have some passing mention in the world in which a film takes place.

“When LGBT people or couples are made part of a larger ensemble or even featured in brief, casual manner, at the very least it reminds the audience that LGBT people are a part of the same society and present a more accurate portrait of that society,” the study stated.

GLAAD’s Vito Russo test, named after the org’s co-founder, looks at whether LGBT characters are defined solely by sexual orientation and whether their roles “simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or (perhaps most commonly) set up a punchline.”

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  1. Ted Trent says:

    I’ve produced a GLBT feature film called, “Hidden Hills.” In conjunction with National Coming Out Day, we are premiering it online FOR FREE this October 11, 2013. We are also subtitling the film in Russian, Spanish, and many other languages. Visit

    I think there are marvelous examples of the GLBT community all over television and the Internet. Sadly, unless we can find interesting ways to tell our own stories and figure out how to sell it to the general public, we don’t deserve the screen time. Film and TV is a commercially driven industry that is failing. The best way to get the attention of this industry is to create something that works, not pick a part an industry that is just trying to survive.

  2. Simple economics…LBGT themed movies only interest a small sub-population. Sorry, but you guys are not as important as you think you are. Don’t be so narcissistic. Movies are darn expensive, and they are not driven by advertising dollars the way TV is. Most of the risk is up front. There are lots of LBGT-themed indies,and that’s the way it is going to stay.

    • Ted Trent says:

      I’m gay and I’m with you. Unless we can find an interesting way to tell our stories and get people to pay to see them, our films should probably find a new way to be distributed. Films are suppose to be fun. People are suppose to want to watch them. If a character just so happens to be gay, cool. If the audience likes them, even better.

      But I do think that if film makers are purposely misrepresenting our community on film, it causes a whole other set of problems. So, inclusion is important, but the type of inclusion is even more important to me.

  3. Twiggy Voiohees says:

    Not every film needs a GLADD type of character in it

  4. noel says:

    Despite what the media likes to report, most tolerate, but don’t endorse homosexuality. It’s not an identity, it’s a sexual behavioral choice. I’m tired of the constant comparison to blacks. You can’t choose your race, but you can certainly choose who you have sex with. Frankly, I wish movies had a rating system that lets you know whether homosexuality will be occurring in movies, because I don’t want to support them.

    • Ted Trent says:

      You are the exact reason GLAAD exists. We are born gay. I could never choose to have sex with a woman. Could you all the same sex to cuddle up to you every night and be okay with it. If you can say yes to that, you are what is called, “Bisexual.” Boy, the minute I try to say GLAAD needs to back off a little, people leave comments like this that really show me the importance of their position for inclusion. Hmmmm.

    • Smooth Love says:

      I agree with you and I see it as porno, sexual perversion…against God.I don’t want to see that!It should be in the ratings….and that’s not how God Almighty created it.NO LIFE COMES FROM IT……(and I noticed some people are always trying to insult black people,that’s literally Crazy(too)! ;)

      • Ted Trent says:

        As a gay man who was brought up in the church, I look at you and say, “God is not in your heart.” It’s obvious to most of us reading your comments. I see you as a self-appointed judge. I think you would call it an anti-Christ spirit. I see you as having a perceived “form” of goodliness, but the sadistic side of you has figured out a way to judge others even though God clearly commands you not to judge your neighbor. Just so you know, I see you as a pervert too. A perverted demon that go around telling other people they are perverts. Sort of gross. Interesting we both see each other as perverts. Sadly, you are causing pain and sadness on the planet. I, on the other had, allow the spirit of God to guide me and facilitate joy, peace, love, and happiness.

        Ted Trent

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