LGBTQ representation in major Hollywood films saw a record high this year, an annual studio study from GLAAD reveals, though diversity and trans visibility hit troubling lows.
The media watchdog’s annual Studio Responsibility Index vets releases from top-grossing companies for the quality, quantity and integrity of its queer stories, and issues ratings based on performance. None of the studios earned better than an “insufficient” rating, the report said.
“Despite seeing a record high percentage of LGBTQ-inclusive films this year, the industry still has a long way to go in terms of fairly and accurately representing the LGBTQ community,” GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said. “If film studios want to stay relevant to today’s audiences and compete in an industry that is emphasizing diversity and inclusion, then they must urgently reverse course on the diminishing representation of LGBTQ women and people of color, as well as the complete absence of trans characters.”
Of the 118 films released from major studios in 2019, 22 (18.6%) included characters that were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer. This number is up from 2018 (18.2%, 20 out of 110 films), and marks the highest percentage of inclusive films found in the eight-year history of the report.
For the third consecutive year, trans people were not included in any major studio release. Equally troubling was a downward trend in racial diversity. In 2019, 34% of LGBTQ characters were people of color (17 out of 50), down from 42% in 2018. GLAAD is calling on the studios to ensure that at least half of their LGBTQ characters are people of color by 2022.
Notable high points were positive representations of bisexuality in films like “Bombshell” and “Anna,” as well as the tween romp “Good Boys.” The bi community is great in number but almost invisible on screen, the report found.
Included in the ratings were Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, United Artists Releasing and Universal Pictures, of which received “Insufficient” grades. Sony Pictures Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios received “poor” grades; and STX Films received a “failing” grade with no LGBTQ representation whatsoever.
The group has also called for called for 20% overall queer inclusivity by 2021, and 50% by 2024. Four of the eight studios hit this 20% goal individually this year: Paramount Pictures at 33% (up from 20% last year), United Artists Releasing at 29%, Lionsgate at 25% and Disney Studios at 21%.
Read the full report here.