Not a single transgender character was depicted in any of the flicks launched by the most important studios final yr for the fourth yr in a row, in accordance with a brand new report from GLAAD. The LGBTQ rights group’s report discovered that “this remains one of the more glaring ways mainstream studios continue to lag behind other forms of entertainment media.” It additionally discovered “a complete absence” of storylines about LGBTQ characters dwelling with HIV – or with any disabilities in any respect – in any of the movies surveyed, whereas solely one of many studios’ animated movies featured an LGBTQ character.
Even so, the 20 LGBTQ characters who have been featured in final yr’s crop of 10 LGBTQ-inclusive movies have been extra numerous, noticed a big enhance in display screen time and have been featured in a better share of movies than in 2019. And 9 of these 10 movies obtained a passing grade from GLAAD – a document excessive 90%.
Out In Hollywood, An Advocacy Group For LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Stories, Releases First Out Loud List Of Best Unproduced Pilot Scripts By Queer Writers
“This is a critical time of transformation for Hollywood – challenged to redefine business lines and practices during a global pandemic, driven by an increased demand from consumers hungry for new content, and rocked by the rightful reckoning and pressure for these studios to create more meaningful substantive change in representing and investing in marginalized communities,” mentioned GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “This transformation represents a great opportunity to swiftly accelerate acceptance of LGBTQ stories, break new ground, and invest in queer and trans talent and stories that audiences are eager to watch. Hollywood and the business of storytelling must be more nimble, more creative, more open than ever before.”
See the total report here.
Last yr, 22.7% of the 44 movies distributed by the majors featured LGBTQ characters, up from 18.6% in 2019, in accordance with the report. GLAAD famous, nevertheless, that “this must be taken with a grain of salt within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic severely impacting theatrical distribution, as there were only 44 films released as opposed to the previous report’s 118 from the same studios. While this record-high percentage is exciting, there must be consistent growth as the number of films theatrically released by the studios begins to rise again.”
The report, GLAAD’s ninth annual “Studio Responsibility Index,” additionally discovered “a significant increase” in display screen time for LGBTQ characters final yr. Of the ten LGBTQ-inclusive movies launched, eight (80%) featured LGBTQ characters with greater than 10 minutes of display screen time. “This is a noteworthy increase from the previous two reports where more than half of LGBTQ characters clocked less than three minutes of screen time,” the report says, whereas 30% of these characters obtained lower than one minute of display screen time.
The share of LGBTQ characters of shade additionally elevated final yr, although GLAAD famous, because it does all through the report, that this have to be seen within the context of the restricted pool of movies launched due to the pandemic, and that there have been solely 20 LGBTQ characters within the 2020 releases, in contrast with 50 LGBTQ characters in 2019.
Of these 20 characters, 40% (eight) have been characters of shade and 11 have been white, whereas one LGBTQ character “was non-human in appearance.” Fifteen p.c of the LGBTQ characters have been Asian/Pacific Islanders, 10% have been Black, 10% Latinx and 5% Indigenous.
This yr’s report additionally discovered a rise within the share of lesbians within the LGBTQ-inclusive movies surveyed, however a lower within the illustration of bisexuals and homosexual males.
And for the fourth yr in a row, GLAAD didn’t discover any transgender or non-binary characters in any theatrical releases from the most important studios.
“Factually, that is zero transgender characters across a total of almost 400 film releases tracked by this report since January 2017,” the report discovered. “The last transgender character GLAAD counted was an offensive caricature in the 2016 film Zoolander 2, a non-binary model named All portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.” The report discovered that in that very same time-frame, “TV has seen amazing progress in telling transgender stories and empowering trans writers and actors to lead those efforts, with FX’s history-making Pose, television’s first trans superhero on The CW’s Supergirl, Brian Michael Smith’s historic casting on Fox’s 9-1-1: Lone Star, and more.”
“While recent years did include transgender and/or non-binary actors in a handful of major releases,” the report says, “none of those films established those characters as transgender or non-binary within the film’s world. For this report, GLAAD did not count those characters in its tally based on what was on screen, in the same way that LGB characters are not tallied unless their story is made clear on screen. We are pleased to see trans actors being cast in roles that are not explicitly written as transgender and hope to see this continue. We also hope to see more films which explicitly tell the stories of transgender characters, representation that is crucial to understanding discrimination and liberating trans people.”
Because so few movies have been launched in the course of the pandemic, GLAAD allotted with its standard follow of grading every studio primarily based on the general amount, high quality and variety of LGBTQ characters of their slate of movies, however notes that “Walt Disney Studios has a weak history when it comes to LGBTQ inclusion compared to other studios tracked in this report.”
Only three of the ten movies from final yr that have been LGBTQ-inclusive had theatrical releases. Ellis famous that GLAAD’s final report “projected at least ten films scheduled for a 2020 theatrical release which were confirmed to include LGBTQ characters, storylines, and themes. Of those ten, and because of forced theater closure, only three films were theatrically distributed in 2020 in the U.S. – The New Mutants (Walt Disney Studios), Birds of Prey (Warner Bros.), and The Broken Hearts Gallery (Sony Pictures). Then the distribution strategy got creative. Other films were sold to and distributed by streaming services – Happiest Season on Hulu, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie coming this summer to Amazon Prime, were delayed to 2021 or later (Chaos Walking, In the Heights, Eternals, Jungle Cruise), or were released in 2020 through video on demand (The Craft: Legacy) rather than theatrically. Given the publicly confirmed details about inclusive LGBTQ characters, it is clear that 2020 was set to be a game changing year for a variety of queer stories at the box office. And then, Covid closures, delays, and increased expenses happened to the world and to the industry.”
The report additionally offered a rundown of the share of movies with LGBTQ characters from every studio. (GLAAD famous that in final yr’s examine it “expanded its quantified tally of major studios to include STX Films and United Artists Releasing.”)
One of two motion pictures launched final yr by STX Films have been LGBTQ-inclusive (50%); adopted by two of 5 movies from The Walt Disney Studios (40%); two of six movies from Paramount Pictures (33%); one among 4 movies from United Artists Releasing (25%); two of 10 movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment (20%); one among 10 movies from Universal Pictures (10%), and not one of the three movies launched by Lionsgate (0%). The report famous, nevertheless, that Lionsgate has launched a dozen LGBTQ-inclusive movies since its founding in 1997.
The report gave passing marks to 9 of the ten studio movies that have been LGBTQ-inclusive, primarily based on its Vito Russo Test, which is called after the movie historian and GLAAD co-founder, whose guide The Celluloid Closet stays a cornerstone for the evaluation of early LGBTQ portrayals in Hollywood.
For a movie to move that check, GLAAD says it should depict a personality who’s identifiably lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer; LGBTQ characters should not be solely or predominantly outlined by their sexual orientation or gender identification, and so they have to 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 must matter.”
The share of studio movies which have handed the check has been steadily on the rise in recent times. Last yr, it was 90%; in 2019 it was 73%, which was up from 65% in 2018; 64% in 2017; 39% in 2016, and simply 36% in 2015.
The report, nevertheless, mentioned that “passing the Vito Russo Test is a first step, rather than the finish line,” noting that a number of movies which have handed the check over time additionally included storylines that have been “objectionable,” together with Zoolander 2, Hazlo Como Hombre (Do It Like an Hombre), CHiPS and this yr’s The Gentlemen.
In the report’s observations and proposals, GLAAD mentioned that it has repeatedly referred to as on the studios to offer extra display screen time for LGBTQ characters in mainstream motion pictures. And whereas their display screen time elevated considerably final yr, the report famous that “While some movies like The New Mutants, Freaky, Fantasy Island, and The Broken Hearts Gallery used that expanded display screen time to inform extra developed or nuanced queer tales, usually with a couple of queer character, extra time didn’t equate to high quality throughout the board.
“While it was a welcome change to finally have canon confirmation of Harley Quinn’s bisexuality in Birds of Prey, the confirmation moment was incredibly quick and there were no further allusions in the rest of the film – a missed opportunity, as a good chunk of her story was focused on her life after breaking up with long-term boyfriend, The Joker. The Gentlemen and Buddy Games both clocked more than ten minutes but were entirely offensive in their handling of their gay characters. There remains a huge opportunity existing in the spectrum between these models for meaningful LGBTQ storytelling – and for unambiguously marketing and promoting those movies.”
GLAAD additionally counted just one inclusive movie within the animated and household movie style – Pixar’s Onward – which was down from two movies in 2019. “Queer content in this category lags behind the boom happening in all-ages television in recent years,” the report says. “In a finding consistent with the previous year, their screen time was very minor. Onward’s Officer Spector (voiced by out actress Lena Waithe) clocked under two minutes of screen time, though the character did notably set up the penultimate police chase of the two leads. Though this was a nice moment of casual inclusion, as the character made a nod to her girlfriend affirming that queer ‘people’ exist in all families and all worlds, studios should learn from the successes of queer and trans representation in television with LGBTQ characters in significant roles on series including Arthur [on PBS], She-Ra and The Princesses of Power and Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts on Netflix, Steven Universe on Cartoon Network, Disney’s The Owl House and more.”
GLAAD just lately launched a second GLAAD Media Awards class within the Kids and Family style to acknowledge inclusive content material for youthful audiences. “LGBTQ families and parents are part of the world and should be integral to movies they see with their families,” the report says. “And LGBTQ youth, who are coming out at younger ages as cultural acceptance continues to grow, deserve to see age-appropriate, positive, affirming, and truthful representations of themselves in film. The small moments seen in studio films must become bigger, significant moments with meaningful LGBTQ characters and stories.”
Said GLAAD’s Ellis: “As national and international theatrical markets continue to revive and as we experience shifts towards a world with Covid-19 vaccinations rolling out across the globe, no one can be certain just how the theatrical model may change and how those changes may impact the industry long-term. What is certain is film and TV content remain America’s widest cultural export – reflecting our culture while also shaping culture through nuanced and inclusive storytelling – and that entertainment must deliver stories which reflect the audience watching, including LGBTQ people.”
Added Megan Townsend, director of leisure analysis and evaluation on the GLAAD Media Institute: “Telling meaningful LGBTQ stories is not just the right thing to do, it’s also just smart business,” Nielsen studies that LGBTQ audiences are key field workplace drivers, heavy streaming customers, and set the social dialog. As the trade appears in direction of a altering future, it’s clear that LGBTQ characters should be a part of tales throughout all platforms of distribution, and prioritizing providing fan engagement experiences offers even larger alternative for illustration and inclusion. Sincerely partaking LGBTQ audiences can solely profit the studio’s backside traces.” She added that “Our roadmap to success is found in the numbers. LGBTQ people are a significant audience.”
Separately, the report analyzed 21 different movies launched underneath 4 smaller studio imprints, however they aren’t included within the report’s knowledge on the most important studios, though they’re typically consistent with its different findings. Focus Features launched 10 movies, two of which have been LGBTQ-inclusive (20%); Sony Pictures Classics and Roadside Attractions every launched 4 movies, and every had one movie that includes LGBTQ characters (25%), whereas Searchlight Pictures launched three movies with none LGBTQ characters. The report famous, nevertheless, that Searchlight has been accountable for the discharge of a number of high-profile LGBTQ-inclusive movies over time, together with Boys Don’t Cry (1999), Kinsey (2004), Battle of the Sexes (2017), The Shape of Water (2017) and Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018).
Looking at “Opportunities Ahead,” the report additionally previewed quite a few upcoming movies from every of the studios that may prominently characteristic LGBTQ characters, together with Universal’s homosexual romantic comedy Bros and the Rock Hudson biopic All That Heaven Allows.
Explaining the report’s methodology, GLAAD mentioned that “Due to the unique disruption to theatrical releases in the U.S. in 2020 caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, GLAAD chose to center its analysis on the eight film studios that had the highest theatrical grosses from films released in 2019 as the last standard full year,” as reported by the field workplace database Box Office Mojo.