Racial Diversity Of LGBTQ Characters Saw Big Drop In 2019 Big-Budget Films

Taron Egerton in ‘Rocketman’ (image via Paramount)

GLAAD has released its 8th annual Studio Responsibility Index which tracks LGBTQ representation in major studio films. 

GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) works through entertainment and news media to ensure fair, accurate and inclusive representation of the LGBTQ community.

The Studio Responsibility Index tracked the 118 films released in 2019 by the eight major studios: Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, STX Films, United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros. These studios had the highest theatrical grosses from films released in the 2019 calendar year and four of their subsidiaries as reported by box office database Box Office Mojo.

Of those 118 films, GLAAD found 22 (18.6%) included characters that were LGBTQ. That represents a slight increase from the 2018 report (18.2%) and the highest percentage of inclusive films found in the eight-year history of the report.

Lionsgate had the highest total of LGBTQ characters (25%) in its 20 films released in 2019. STX, which released 9 movies, had zero LGBTQ representation.

Antonio Banderas in ‘Pain and Glory’ (image via Sony)

While there was a slight, incremental increase in inclusivity, GLAAD points out that far too often LGBTQ characters in these films have mere moments on screen, so for many audiences, the inclusion may not have registered.

Fifty-six percent of characters that were identified as LGBTQ appeared for less than three minutes of total screen time. Only nine films from the studios tracked included an LGBTQ character who had more than ten minutes of screen time.

More bad news – there was a significant decrease in the racial diversity of LGBTQ characters in major films for the second year in a row. In 2019, just 34% (17) of LGBTQ characters were people of color. This is down from 42% in 2018 and 57% in 2017.

Only three of the 118 movies tracked included bisexual characters, and the report found ZERO transgender characters for the third year in a row.

When it came to family-oriented films, just two – Disney’s Toy Story 4 and Paramount’s Wonder Park – featured LGBTQ characters. GLAAD noted they were in “incredibly minor” moments of the movies.

In 2018, GLAAD issued a challenge to major studios asking for an increase to 20 percent representation by the end of 2021, and to 50 percent LGBTQ representation by the year ending 2024.

GLAAD is expanding on that challenge calling for at least half of LGBTQ characters in major studio films to be people of color.

(source: GLAAD)

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