In May, GLAAD took a look back at 2017 and confirmed that major film studios have dropped the ball: there were less LGBTQ characters last year than in 2016. This represents another incremental step backwards for queer actors and viewers, and a loss for everyone that wants to see better movies.
GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index tracked the quality, quantity, and diversity of LGBTQ representation in Hollywood every year, and the numbers aren’t great. In 2017, GLAAD found that of the 109 releases from major production studios, only 14 (12.8%) included queer characters. That’s a decreases compared to last year when 23 out of 125 films (18.4%) had an out LGBTQ character on screen. Worse, 2017 marked the lowest overall proportion of inclusive movies since GLAAD began tracking big releases in 2012!
Wait, you might ask! What about television? While it’s true that the small screen does a much better job of portraying the true diversity and beauty of the human race, a previous GLAAD report established that the record number of queer characters on TV were mainly…wait for it…white men. Shocking. Film does a little better in that respect, as 15 out of the 28 characters represented in the above movies were people of color.
A few people might ask, why does this matter? Well, it’s a big deal for people to see their own life story, interests, hopes, and dreams represented on screen. On film, the lion’s share of content and characters represent only a one fraction of the U.S. population—let alone the whole world. Worse, poor representation breeds contempt and intolerance. Basically, representation matters.
Frankly, we’re not expecting much from 2018. This is a garbage year, after all. We are living in garbage times now. This is our life.
The GLAAD report covered 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers, as well the four subsidiaries of these major studios. You can find the whole report here.