GLAAD study reveals severe lack of LGBT characters in Hollywood films

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A study by the LGBT organisation GLAAD has found a huge lack of LGBT characters in Hollywood films, including zero identifiably trans characters, and very few lesbian, gay and bisexual characters.

The study looked at 101 films made by the ‘Big Six’ Hollywood studios, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Columbia, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Brothers.

It found that out of those films, only 14 had a character who identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and that the majority of those characters were minor roles.

The survey also revealed that out of the 101 films, there were no identifiably transgender characters.

The most likely genre in which one would find gay characters was comedy, with nine of the 24 comedies in 2012 featuring a gay or bisexual character.

The least diverse were “genre films”, such as sci-fi and fantasy, as of 34, only three featured an LGBT character. Out of those three, only one, Cloud Atlas, was created outside of the studio system, and another, The Avengers, included a very brief appearance by an out gay news anchor, Thomas Roberts.

Compared to television, film lags behind, as GLAAD’s report also finds that there was a record high percentage of LGBT characters in the 2012-2013 broadcast season

Just one in 21 dramas and one in four documentaries were found to be inclusive, and there were no LGBT characters in any animated or family films out of those counted.

Proportionately gay male characters were featured more than lesbian, as 63% of characters were male, and less than a third were white female LGBT characters, out of the 31 featured.

26 of those characters were white, four were black, and there was just one Latino character. Zero were Asian-Pacific or multi-racial LGBT characters.

Despite the fact that indie films do produce some strong LGBT stories, major film studies are still appearing reluctant to include LGBT roles, warns GLAAD.

The recommendations of the report encourages Hollywood to address the lack of trans characters, saying “the lack reinforces the marginalisation of the transgender community”.

It also goes on to say that the large studios “remain reluctant” to cast LGBT characters in major roles. It goes on to question whether studios such as the Big Six will ever feature a non-straight character as a protagonist in a film.

Wilson Cruz of GLAAD said: “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.

“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. Whether it’s an action hero or a supporting character, moviegoers should be able to see LGBT people as integral players in the stories told by leading Hollywood studios.”