GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index Reveals Lack of LGBT Visibility
BY Advocate.com Editors
July 22 2014 6:00 AM ET
Above: Kali Hawk and Kimrie Lewis-Davis in Peeples
2013 Rating: Adequate
Lionsgate, making its first appearance in the GLAAD report, is the youngest of the studios tracked, having released its first film in 1997. Since then it has become a major player, growing through acquisition of other studios, and has produced some big-budget, mainstream films in addition to art-house fare.
The studio received an overall rating of “adequate” for 2013. Three of Lionsgate’s 21 releases for the year were LGBT-inclusive, and two of them passed the Vito Russo Test. The one most praised by GLAAD is Peeples, which centers on an affluent African-American family having a reunion in the Hamptons. One of the daughters, Gloria (Kali Hawk), is attending with her secret girlfriend, Meg (Kimrie Lewis-Davis), and struggling with the decision to come out to her family. “Though Meg and Gloria’s storyline briefly plays into straight-male fantasies about three-ways with lesbian couples, they have a significant presence throughout the film and are accepted without question by the other characters,” GLAAD’s report notes. “This film signifies positive progress, especially for films heavily marketed to African American audiences.” What’s more, GLAAD points out, one of the producers is Tyler Perry, whose work as a director has included some problematic LGBT content.
Instructions Not Included has a humane portrayal of a lesbian couple involved in a custody battle with the film’s protagonist, but it also has a transgender character whose only purpose is to be laughed at. The Big Wedding features a bisexual character, the mother of the bride, played by Christine Ebersole. GLAAD reports that the character “could have been better handled,” as her attraction to women is referred to as a “fetish.”
Lionsgate’s 2013 releases also included the science fiction saga Ender’s Game, which had no LGBT content, objectionable or otherwise, but was based on a novel by Orson Scott Card, who is well known for his antigay activism. Lionsgate received criticism for its association with Card and responded by releasing a statement asserting its support for LGBT people. The film ended up flopping at the box office.