Eli Joshua Ade / Image source: Eli Joshua Ade
LGBTQ characters took up a little more space in movies in 2020. According to the annual GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index, there has been an increase in the percentage of films with LBGTQ characters. A large portion of these characters were serious and big too — 80 percent of these movies had LGBTQ characters with more than 10 minutes of screen time. The group found that the percentage of colored LGBTQ characters also increased.
While these numbers show a positive trend when it comes to LGBTQ representation in film, there is of course a great deal of salt: the pandemic has shaken the entire film industry, affecting theater distribution. So this year’s study is only looking at 44 films, compared to 118 films last year. As such, the group decided to ditch the usual 5-star grading scale this year.
Caveats aside, GLAAD found a number of glaring gaps in LGBTQ representation in the film. According to the report, theatrical releases from major studios contained zero transgender or non-binary characters for the fourth year in a row. There were no LGBTQ persons with disabilities. And no LGBTQ people were HIV-positive. In the report’s introduction, Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, described this group, in particular, facing “incredibly high levels of stigma and discrimination.”
“We’ve seen how culture can change when stories have a face, particularly with Billy Porter recently sharing his experience living with HIV and receiving amazing waves of support,” she said. “Obviously there are a lot of stories to tell and many other films to be made and watched.”
Characters are identified as LGBTQ by study based on what is presented on screen, or by “extensive and common cultural knowledge of a real character”. For example, Birds of Prey: The Wonderful Emancipation of Harley Quinn He clearly introduced Renee Montoya’s character as a lesbian with his ex-girlfriend. On the other hand, the head of the cafe, Jill, is in young promisingPlayed by a transgender actress الممثلة Laverne Cox, was not counted because “there is no indication that Jill’s character is transgender, although she could be.”
Overall, the report notes that the audience is changing rapidly, Quoted from a Gallup poll 15.9 percent of Gen Z Americans identify as LGBT. If studios and production companies want to remain relevant, Ellis said, “they have to be prepared for this group.”