GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index Reveals Lack of LGBT Visibility
BY Advocate.com Editors
July 22 2014 6:00 AM ET
GLAAD released its second annual Studio Responsibility Index today, grading the seven largest motion picture studios on the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people in their films released during 2013.
GLAAD’s research revealed that only 17 of the studios’ 102 releases in 2013 included LGBT characters, a slight improvement from the 14 LGBT inclusive films from 2012. However, while there was a minor increase in number of films including LGBT characters, a majority of them were minor roles or cameos, many of which were defamatory representations of LGBT people. Not a single mainstream film from the seven studios included an LGBT lead character.
“The lack of substantial LGBT characters in mainstream film, in addition to the outdated humor and stereotypes, suggests large Hollywood studios may be doing more harm than good when it comes to worldwide understanding of the LGBT community,” said GLAAD CEO and president Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. “These studios have the eyes and ears of millions of audience members and should reflect the true fabric of our society rather than feed into the hatred and prejudice against LGBT people too often seen around the globe.”
Using the Vito Russo Test — a set of criteria named after GLAAD cofounder and celebrated film historian Vito Russo, which was developed last year to analyze how LGBT characters are represented in fictional works — GLAAD examined the 17 films.
The Vito Russo Test requires films fulfill each of the following to receive a passing grade:
- The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT).
- That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity (i.e. the character is made up of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight characters from one another).
- The LGBT 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.
Only seven of the 17 films that featured an LGBT character managed to pass the Vito Russo Test.
On the following pages, see how each studio was ranked and rated in GLAAD’s 2013 Studio Responsibility Index.