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Hollywood Films LGBTQ Representation

By Charlotte Robinson, July 18, 2021

GLAAD recently released its ninth annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI) that maps the quantity, quality & diversity of LGBTQ characters in films released by the eight major film studios. For the first time in the report’s history there were more lesbian characters than gay male characters but the report found no LGBTQ characters with disabilities, no LGBTQ characters living with HIV & transgender or non-binary characters still remain completely absent for a fourth year in a row. The study is based on GLAAD’s Vito Russo Test that sets a criteria analyzing how LGBTQ characters are situated in a narrative film. Vito Russo who I had the pleasure to cross paths with many times when I lived in NYC was an activist, historian & co-founder of GLAAD. For a film to pass the Vito Russo Test the following must be true. The film must contain a character that is identifiably LGBTQ. That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity (i.e. the character is comprised of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight or non-transgender characters from one another). The LGBTQ character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect. Meaning they are not there to simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or (perhaps most commonly) set up a punchline. The character should matter.  Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis concluded, “We know that LGBTQ audiences are a powerful & invested audience & a quickly growing one as we see more & more people empowered to live their authentic lives. The power, passion & growth of LGBTQ audiences proves that if studios wish to be successful in retaining & expanding fans, they must tell meaningful queer & trans stories.” GLAAD found that of the 44 films released from major studios in 2020 only ten (22.7 percent) contained LGBTQ characters.  For More Info…

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