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Thursday, 01 June 2017 22:53

In 2016 LGBTQ people were nearly invisible in cinema

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glaad report studio 2017


Each year, the GLAAD organization releases its report on LGBTQ visibility in cinema and unfortunately the results were not good in 2016.

Already the LGBTQ representation in 2015 was down compared to recent years. Well, the decline continued during this year 2016, as out of 125 releases, only 23 of them had characters identified as LGBTQ or just 18.4% of the characters.


  • 1 trans character
  • 13% were bisexual
  • 83% were gay men
  • the only good news is the lesbian representation which gained 12% and accounted for 35%

Racial origin:

Racial origin is also part of this diversity, and here again, we can see a decline in 2016, like in 2015. 20% of the LGBT characters in 2016 were people of color, a decrease of 5.5%:

  • 69% were white
  • 13% were black
  • 6% Asian or Pacific Islander
  • 1% has Latino descent
  • and 11% of the characters were not human

"With many of the most popular TV shows proudly including LGBTQ characters and stories, the time has come for the film industry to step up and show the full diversity of the world that movie audiences are living in today instead and end the outdated humor seen in films like 'Baywatch,'" said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s president.

"Films like 'Moonlight' prove there is a huge opportunity to not only tell LGBTQ stories worthy of Oscar gold but to open the hearts and minds of audiences here and around the world in places where these stories can be a lifeline to the people who need it most."

Let's now look at the results among all the major film studios. Which ones offered a good LGBTQ representation in 2016?

  • The 20th Century Fox was 'poor' since it released 16 films in 2016 but only three of them had LGBTQ characters. This is no surprise since the 20th Century Fox never really offered LGBTQ characters.
  • note that the subsidiary of 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, which specializes in foreign and independent films, has released 5 movies including 2 with LGBTQ characters.
  • Lionsgate obtained a rather mediocre result too, like in 2015. Out of 24 films released, 3 of them had characters from the community.
  • the Roadside Attraction subsidiary, which focuses on independent films, has hardly offered any LGBT representation, as out of 10 movies there has been only one was LGBTQ inclusive ("Hello, My Name Is Doris").
  • Paramount Pictures is unfortunately no better and is part of movie studios with very few movies with LGBTQ characters. Out of 15 films released, 5 had LGBT people. These results are rather stable compared to recent years. GLAAD would have preferred to see the trans character "cut altogether" in "Zoolander" as they "existed purely to give the audience something to laugh at, and the story added nothing to the film’s plot as a whole."
  • There is also a loss of representation at Sony Pictures. In 2013 Sony Pictures was one of the best studios for the LGBT representation, so it is disappointing to see that a few years later the same studio is described as 'failing' in LGBTQ visibility. Out of 21 films released, only 2 had LGBTQ characters. A Little detail about Sony Pictures: the movie "Ghostbusters" starring lesbian actress Kate McKinnon was not counted by GLAAD. McKinnon was may be playing a lesbian, bisexual or queer character but writer and director Paul Feig always refused to answer questions about the character's sexuality.
  • Also, Sony Pictures' independent branch, Sony Pictures Classic, has released 16 films but only three with LGBTQ characters.
  • Universal Pictures studios, which was also one of the best studios a few years ago, received an 'insufficient' score for 2016. Out of 17 films released, only 5 with characters from the community.
  • Focus Features, which often releases movies with LGBTQ people like "Pariah", did not do it in 2016. Out of 10 movies released, only one, "Nocturnal Animals," included LGBTQ characters.
  • Walt Disney Studios is also failing and marked a historical record of non-inclusion in its movies, unlike recent years. 13 releases and only one LGBTQ character ("Zootopia").
  • Finally, the Warner Bros also received a 'poor' rating. Out of 19 movies, 4 had LGBTQ characters. This is still an improvement over 2015. GLAAD was especially disappointed to see Harley Quinn's bisexuality in "Suicide Squad" removed from the story.

The question you may be asking yourself now is, which studios have been successful? Unfortunately, there are none.

A lack of LGBT representation in cinema in 2016 had been foreseen and by seeing all the detailed results, we realize how much it has gone down. Let's hope that the trend will reverse in 2017. We will reassure ourselves with LGBTQ films from our community like "Below Her Mouth" or "AWOL" and others to be released soon.


Lezbelib is the online magazine that helps LGBTQ+ women to stay updated with entertaining blogs and breaking news about LGBT rights.