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GLAAD Report: Hollywood Studios Still Failing in LGBT Representation

Benedict Cumberbatch in Zoolander 2
Benedict Cumberbatch in Zoolander 2

The latest Studio Responsibility Index shows only a marginal increase in LGBT roles, which need massive improvements in their quality.


It gets better? Not in Hollywood blockbusters.

GLAAD -- the LGBT media watchdog -- once again reported an abysmal lack of LGBT visibility in Tinseltown's biggest productions.

Its latest annual report, the Studio Responsibility Index, surveyed 125 films found that only 23 had LGBT roles in 2016. While this year marked a one percent increase in parts, most of these were minor in size and major in offensiveness.

For example, the only transgender character in 2016 was a punchline in Zoolander 2. And other LGBT identities disappeared altogether. The bisexuality of Suicide Squad's Harley Quinn, which was present in the source material, was erased for the big screen.

Overall, gay male characters, at 83 percent, were the largest group visible onscreen from the LGBT community. Following were lesbian representation (35 percent), bisexual representation (13 percent), and trans representation, which was near-nonexistent.

The percentage of queer characters of color also dropped again this year, from 25.5 percent in 2015 to 20 percent in 2016.

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD's CEO, urged the film community to follow television's example in diversifying content and creating more complex roles that reflect the real world.

"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to step up and show the full diversity of the world that movie audiences are living in today instead and end the outdated humor seen in many films," said Ellis.

"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."

Using its "Vito Russo Test," GLAAD assigns grades to major studios based on the quantity, diversity, and quality of LGBT representation: Excellent, Good, Insufficient (Universal Pictures), Poor (20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Brothers), or Failing (Lionsgate Entertainment, Sony Pictures, and Walt Disney Studios).

No studios were graded Excellent or Good. In fact, no studio has ever been rated as Excellent.

See the full report at

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.