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Annual GLAAD report finds slight improvements in LGBT depictions in film

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TEA TIME? That is, Long Island Ice Tea.
Michael Tackett

On Wednesday, GLAAD, the nation’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, released its third annual overview of the quantity, quality, and diversity of images of LGBT people in films produced by major studios.

GLAAD’s report found that of the 114 releases from the seven largest studios in 2014, 20 of them (or 17.5 percent) included characters who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. However, there were no identifiable transgender characters.

The association found fewer “overtly defamatory depictions” of the LGBT community in mainstream films compared to last year, “though offensive representations were by no means absent, and were found in films such as Exodus: Gods and Kings and Horrible Bosses 2.”  

For the third consecutive year, comedies were the most likely films to be LGBT-inclusive. Those characters were mainly shut out of the action, sci-fi, fantasy, family, and animated-film genres, “where Hollywood film studios commit the majority of their capital and promotional resources.”

In keeping with previous reports, the majority of films with LGBT characters featured gay males, with less than a third featuring bisexual characters and slightly one tenth including lesbian characters. And LGBT roles tended to have much less screen time overall, usually being minor characters or even cameos.

Warner Bros. was the only studio to receive a “Good” score from GLAAD for its slate of films, including the GLAAD Media Award-nominated film Tammy. 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, and Universal Pictures all received an “Adequate” grade, with Sony Columbia Pictures and Walt Disney Studios “Failing.” No studio has ever received an “Excellent” score.

“As television and streaming services continue to produce a remarkable breadth of diverse LGBT representations, we still struggle to find depictions anywhere near as authentic or meaningful in mainstream Hollywood film,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “The industry continues to look increasingly out of touch by comparison, and still doesn’t represent the full diversity of the American cultural fabric.”

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