GLAAD follows the LGBTQ representation in the media, on TV and in films. They have released their annual report, the Studio Responsibility Index, on LGBTQ visibility in movies that were released in 2018.
110 movies, or 18.2%, featured LGBTQ characters last year. This represents a significant increase compared to 2017 since 20 additional movies characters from the LGBTQ community.
In 7 years of the Studio Responsibility Index, this is one of the best results just behind 2016 with 18.4% of the films that had included LGBTQ characters, i.e. 23 movies out of 125 released that year.
The results of 2018 are a success. GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said that studios “are finally addressing the calls from LGBTQ people and allies around the world who want to see more diversity in films.”
Nevertheless, these results are far from perfect for several reasons:
- First, movies featured 26 male characters, 19 women, but there was no transgender character in 2018.
- Then last year’s films did not offer satisfactory racial inclusivity. In 2018, 42%, or 19 out of 45 LGBTQ characters were people of color. This is a drop in diversity compared to 2017 during which 57% of LGBTQ characters were people of color. But this remains among the best percentages. Imagine that in 2016, the LGBTQ characters of colors accounted for only 20%. The increase took place in 2017 and thus continued in 2018.
- GLAAD emphasized one of the most serious negative points for me related to the duration of visibility of these LGBTQ characters. Half of them got under three minutes of screen time!
- GLAAD also highlighted the lack of LGBTQ characters in animated and family-friendly films. In 2018, none of the 18 films released had an LGBTQ character. This is the first time it happens since GLAAD created this annual report.
Below, I summarize the number of movies featuring LGBTQ characters, studio by studio:
- 20th Century Fox: 4 films out of 10 included LGBTQ characters (40%)
- Universal has offered 6 out of 20 movies with LGBTQ characters (30%)
- Warner Brothers: 5 films out of 23 or 22%
- Paramount: 2 out of 10 movies released or 20%
- Sony: 2 out of 18 movies featuring LGBTQ characters or 11%
- Lionsgate: 1 film out of 19 or 5%
- Walt Disney: 0 LGBTQ characters out of 10 movies released
Disney is expected to go back in the standings in 2019-2020 thanks to the blockbuster productions of Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney.
This year, there was a gay character in “Avengers: End Game” and as I announced a few weeks ago, the directors of Marvel Studios announced more diversity and LGBTQ characters in upcoming films.
Regarding the specialty divisions that have always brought great visibility to our community, they have released good movies with LGBTQ characters in 2018 like Fox Searchlight with “The Favourite” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and like Focus Features, which has already released beautiful lesbian and LGBTQ films and which released “Boy Erased” and “Mary Queen of Scots” in 2018.
“This uncertain, really quickly shifting landscape we’re in in media, but especially in film right now, creates this real concern for issues of diversity and inclusion,” Megan Townsend, director of entertainment research and analysis at GLAAD, told EW. “We don’t know what’s gonna happen in next year’s report, necessarily, with how things are gonna play, but we do know inconsistency has been a repeated issue year-to-year in this report where studios will vary wildly in what they’re putting out, sometimes even in a single year. We really are monitoring that space every day at GLAAD and keeping an eye on that space, but all of the now-six major studios that we’re looking at in this report have several opportunities for standout LGBTQ representation in just what has been announced of their upcoming slates.”
You can view the full GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index here: glaad.org/sri/2019