While the landscape may be getting better, Hollywood has a long way to go when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation, according to media advocacy organization GLAAD.
In its annual studio responsibility index, the organization found that 18.2% of films, or 20 out of 110 movies, from the seven major film studios contained LGBTQ+ characters, up from an all-time low in 2017, though only a small percentage below the all-time high of 18.4% in 2016.
Representation among gay and lesbian characters was equal for the first time in the report’s history, with 55% of LGBTQ+-inclusive films featuring lesbians and gay men. Of the 20 LGBTQ+-inclusive films, only three features bisexual characters while for the second year in a row, none of the films featured transgender characters. GLAAD noted that this was a stark distinction from television where shows like Pose feature multiple transgender leads and Supergirl, which introduced TV’s first transgender superhero.
While there are more LGBTQ+ characters this year than the past year, the racial diversity among the characters fell. In 2018, 42%of queer and trans characters were people of color and 58% were white, down from 57% LGBTQ+ characters of color in 2017.
GLAAD previously called on studios to increase LGBTQ+ representation and ensure that 20%of their releases featured an LGBTQ+ character, a threshold that only four studios — 20th Century Fox (40%), Universal Pictures (30%), Warner Brothers (22%) and Paramount (20%) met. Only Lionsgate Entertainment and Walt Disney received “failing” ratings from GLAAD.
Disney acquired 20th Century Fox in 2019 and swiftly axed Fox 2000, the studio responsible for mid-budget dramas like Love, Simon. While that did lead to some speculation about whether Disney, which does not have a great track record of LGBTQ+ representation, might not continue 20th Century Fox’s tradition of queer inclusion, Disney did announce that a Love, Simon television series is coming to its upcoming streaming platform.
GLAAD found that not only did LGBTQ+ representation increase, so did there screen time. Ten films featured more than 10 minutes of screen time for their LGBTQ+ characters. However, 16 of the 45 queer and trans characters counted had under one minute of screen time.
None of the 18 family and animated films counted in the survey had LGBTQ+ characters, a first in the five years that GLAAD has reported on the genre.