"Hollywood's films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters," GLAAD's president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis says

By Lindsay Kimble
May 02, 2016 12:15 PM
The Weinstein Company

Hollywood is still behind the curve when it comes to onscreen film LGBT diversity, despite notable performances by stars like Cate Blanchett in Carol and Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index report found.

Exploring 126 films from major studios released in 2015, GLAAD found that only 17.5 percent included characters identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender. The inclusion percentage remained stagnant from 2014, when 20 of the 114 films surveyed included LGBT characters.

Among these characters, only one identified as transgender, and the role was used as merely a punch line. The part is indicative of a bigger trend, according to GLAAD, as most of the represented LGBT parts were just minor roles with 10 minutes of screen time or less.

The racial diversity of the LGBT characters actually decreased year over year, dropping 7 percent from 2014. Only 25.5 percent of the LGBT big screen characters were people of color. Last year, that number was 32.1 percent.

“Hollywood’s films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters,” GLAAD’s President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. “Too often, the few LGBT characters that make it to the big screen are the target of a punchline or token characters. The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.”

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The Vitro Russo Test, which was first introduced by the organization in 2012, analyzes how LGBT characters are represented in a fictional work. It takes into account criteria such as whether an LGBT character has a purpose beyond their sexual orientation, and that they must be tied to the plot significantly.

GLAAD’s findings are similar to those of the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity, which was released earlier this year.