Studios are slowly starting to show more lesbian, gay and bisexual characters on film, according to the annual Studio Responsibility Index released today by media advocacy group GLAAD.
The report, which studied releases from the seven major studios in 2014, found that 20 of the 114 movies (17.5%) that bowed last year had characters who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. This is slightly more from 2013, when that percentage was 16.7% (17 of 102 films). However, none of these films included a character who identified as transgender. (This year also marked the first time that GLAAD examined smaller affiliated studios, finding that 11% of the 47 total films released by Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Roadside Attractions, and Sony Pictures Classics were LGBT inclusive).
This increased number from the major studios didn’t necessarily equate to better representation, the report found. The majority of these characters were gay men (65%), while a third (30%) featured bisexual characters and about one tenth (10%) including lesbian characters. The characters were also almost all white (19 characters or 67.9%). Most of these parts were minor roles and most of the films were comedies (42.1%), animated/family films (23.1%) or dramas (18.2%), as opposed to the blockbuster action or sci-fi films that garner larger audiences.
“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. The industry continues to look increasingly out of touch by comparison, and still doesn’t represent the full diversity of the American cultural fabric,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
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GLAAD did state that it found fewer overtly defamatory depictions in mainstream film in 2014, although there were blatant examples in films like 20th Century Fox’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and Warner Bros.’ “Horrible Bosses 2.”
Still, in part because of the Melissa McCarthy movie “Tammy,” Warner Bros. was the only major studio to receive a “good” rating for 2014 (no studio has ever received an excellent rating). Given the recent upset over the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard,” it’s unlikely that will carry over to the next report.
“While we were pleased to see Warner Brothers show real improvement in its LGBT-inclusive films in 2014, they also recently released the comedy ‘Get Hard,’ one of the most problematic films we have seen in some time. This glaring lack of consistency seems to be common amongst almost every major film studio, showing a need for greater oversight in how their films represent – or don’t represent – significant portions of their audience,” said Ellis. “Only when they make those changes and catch up to other, more consistently inclusive media portrayals will we be able to say that America’s film industry is a full partner in accelerating acceptance.”