×

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.”

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven

    Department of Justice Backs Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case

    The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” decision, and taken Led Zeppelin’s side in the long-running copyright dispute that pits the writers of the group’s anthem “Stairway to Heaven” against the publishers of the earlier song “Taurus” by [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Prosecutors Make Last-Minute Move to Bolster Case

    The Manhattan D.A.’s office is making a last-minute bid to strengthen its case against Harvey Weinstein, who is set to be tried next month on charges of rape and sexual assault. Prosecutors notified the court on Tuesday that they will seek a new indictment. The D.A.’s office wants jurors to hear from Annabella Sciorra, the [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein's Autopsy Rules That He Died by Suicide

    Jeffrey Epstein’s death earlier this month has been ruled a suicide by hanging. The New York Times reported on Friday that the city’s medical examiner has officially made the ruling six days after Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. According to the Times, which cites a [...]

  • America Ferrera Eva Longoria

    America Ferrera, Eva Longoria and More Sign Letter to Latinx Community: 'We Will Not Be Broken'

    America Ferrera, Eva Longoria and more have signed a letter published in several media outlets on Friday standing in solidarity with the Latinx community. In response to the heightened tension surrounding President Trump’s immigration agenda, the El Paso shooting that targeted Latinx people and the ICE raids in Mississippi, the letter addresses the language used [...]

  • Research Firm Screen Engine/ASI Acquires TicktBox

    Screen Engine/ASI Acquires TicktBox, an Entertainment Marketing and Ticketing Startup

    Screen Engine/ASI, a market research firm that specializes in focus-group testing of movies and TV pilots, has acquired ticktBox, which operates a digital marketing and ticketing platform used by movie distributors, exhibitors, and TV networks. Terms of the deal, which closed Aug. 9, weren’t disclosed. With ticktBox, SE/ASI will have one of the largest databases of [...]

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST

    Eric Reid, Jemele Hill – and Colin Kaepernick? - Take Jay-Z to Task Over NFL Partnership

    When news of the presumably lucrative entertainment and social-justice deal between Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and the NFL leaked on Tuesday, initially there was a surprising lack of public reaction or outcry. But after a press conference where Jay and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell officially announced the deal at Roc Nation’s New York offices yesterday — [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content