GLAAD Report Finds LGBTQ Characters Largely Missing From Summer Movies

Rough Night Trailer
Screenshot/BuzzFeed

A GLAAD report released Thursday finds that LGBTQ characters were largely absent from 25 films released between June and September, praising films like Sony’s “Rough Night” and criticizing Lionsgate’s “Do it Like an Hombre.”

GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index is intended to pressure top movie studios to feature more LGBTQ characters and in more meaningful ways. Too often, GLAAD says, LGBTQ characters appear only briefly in films or in service of a joke. The advocacy group rates films using the Vito Russo test, a measurement that examines how well-rounded and integral the character is in the film.

“Rough Night” is an R-rated comedy centered on five women reuniting for a bachelorette party who accidentally kill their male stripper and try to cover it up. It featured four LGBTQ characters and passed the Vito Russo test.

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“The inclusion of LGBTQ main characters — especially women of color — is almost unseen in mainstream film today,” wrote Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s director of entertainment research and analysis. “While our report found comedies are the most likely films to include LGBTQ characters, they are often treated as a reductive punchline. ‘Rough Night’ demonstrated that humor and inclusion can co-exist without playing into the outdated and harmful stereotypes that so many comedy films continue to rely on.”

Lionsgate’s “Hazlo Como Un Hombre,” as the film is named in Spanish, is a Chilean feature that shows how one man overcomes his discomfort at learning his best friend, engaged to his sister, is gay. It featured four LGBTQ characters and passed the Vito Russo test but nonetheless felt dated, GLAAD said. “The filmmakers likely had good intentions and hoped to make a point about bigotry existing everywhere, but acknowledging prejudice in a ‘humorous’ way is not the same as actually challenging the idea or subverting an expectation in order to further progress,” the report said.

The summer box office concluded this year with the worst showing in over a decade, and GLAAD says that increased LGBTQ representation could help draw audiences. The report chided the majority of summer releases for the lack of inclusion, including “Wonder Woman” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which earned praise for its racially diverse cast.

“This summer’s dismal box office sales should be a wakeup call to major Hollywood studios that their old formula for success needs a serious update,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO. “Studios must distribute films that tell diverse stories and are truly reflective of today’s audiences if they hope to remain relevant.”

The full report can be found here.

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  1. Get over it! says:

    No one wants to see trannies on TV…stick to rupaul and Bravo network

  2. I am a teacher. About 2% of the population are teachers. I really don’t care how many teachers are in the movies I see. I don’t go to movies to see teachers and I don’t avoid movies which don’t have teachers in them. I am really looking for a good story. I think the vast majority of people who go to see mainstream movies feel the same way. If the story calls for a teacher, that’s fine, but don’t just put a teacher in there to make the small minority of teachers with low self-esteem happy.

  3. JOE S HILL says:

    Sorry GLADD, but Homosexuality themed movies like your self-chosen lifestyles is still a puke-out loud piece of same sex perversion, and I hope that there are still many sane minded people left in this business to keep your disgusting acts and concepts at arm’s length!

  4. DougW says:

    Ask them what they think of Freeform. If you only watched the former ABC Family channel you’d think 20% of Americans are LGBT.

    • It’s funny ’cause it’s true! Although I think GLAAD is jumping the gun here, because we have films like Call Me by Your Name, God’s Own Country, Tom of Finland, A Fantastic Woman, et al. emerging during Oscar season. (Plus the Evan Rachel Wood and Rachel Weisz/Rachel McAdams lesbian films that premiered at TIFF….Interesting, a lot of Rachels playing lesbians!) Meanwhile, there were a few indie titles earlier this year. Overall, it’s one of the stronger years for movies with prominent LGBT characters. And Moonlight did just win. To me, it’s on the upswing. So a good handful per year that are of high-caliber quality? That’s all I ask for, really.

  5. jillian says:

    Who would pay to watch these freaks of nature anyway? I mean they’re a fraction of the overall population and unless you work on Broadway or for Disney, you don’t see many at all. Nobody wants to see these genetic defects. Go AIDS?

  6. Gary Kiser says:

    The take away here is that audiences wish to be entertained, not preached to.

  7. Charles Grossman says:

    Unsurprisingly, there still seem to be plenty of LGBTQ characters and themes in small indie films. (My favorite most recently is “The Happys” with Janeane Garofalo, which screened at last year’s Miami/Ft. Lauderdale LGBT Film Festival.)

  8. Ted Faraone says:

    This is a very thought provoking article. I can say from experience that creators do not necessarily look for diversity in writing treatments or scripts. How much of this is a result of blindness to diversity and how much is due to the blinkers some wear in order to focus on the work is an open question. I suspect that the issue applies as much to LGBTQ creators as it does to those who fall into none of those categories. The same has also been said of race and gender.

    When I was a kid (longer ago than I care to admit) many gay actors played straight romantic leading roles. Straight actors often played gay roles. Everyone in the biz knew about Rock Hudson, but that did not diminish his proficiency as a straight romantic lead. That’s why they call it “acting.” Larry Luckinbill played the gay lead in “Boys in the Band,” and I believe he is straight.

    A quota system is an unpleasantly blunt instrument. But looking at the numbers can’t hurt. GLAAD have opened an avenue for discussion. I wish only that they had looked at a longer span of time, like a year rather than a quarter.

    Please note that this is a “punch-line free” post.

  9. adam says:

    it should be changed to GB.. since if your not straight then your gay pr bisexual.. a lesbian is just a gay woman .. why should gay woman get a special name to call themselves?

  10. Walter says:

    What a horse’s ass. Your mother must be so proud of you.

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