2017 was a particularly dismal year for LGBTQ representation in major studio films, according to GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index.
The advocacy organization released its sixth annual report Tuesday, examining LGBTQ representation in every major Hollywood release of 2017. This year, GLAAD found a “significant drop” in the number of studio films with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer character: Only 14 of the 109 films released by the major studios in 2017 included a LGBTQ character, or 12.8 percent. Not only is that down 5.6 percentage points from 2016, but it’s the worst percentage recorded since GLAAD launched its yearly investigation in 2012.
“With wildly successful films like Wonder Woman and Black Panther proving that audiences want to see diverse stories that haven’t been told before, there is simply no reason for major studios to have such low scores on the Studio Responsibility Index,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “At a time when the entertainment industry is holding much-needed discussions about inclusion, now is the time to ensure the industry takes meaningful action and incorporates LGBTQ stories and creators as among priorities areas for growing diversity.”
The GLAAD report analyzed each of the seven major studios’ 2017 film releases and assigned each one a grade: failing, poor, insufficient, good, or excellent. Twentieth Century Fox and Universal performed best, with “insufficient” ratings, while Paramount, Sony, and Disney earned “poor” ratings. Lionsgate and Warner Bros. both fared the worst, receiving “failing” grades.
GLAAD also noted that not a single studio film in 2017 included a transgender character.
The report did, however, praise several indie releases for their accurate and inclusive LGBTQ representation, like the Chilean transgender drama A Fantastic Woman and Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name. Also, GLAAD said that 2018 has already seen a number of positive depictions of LGBTQ characters in films like Love, Simon; Annihilation; and Blockers.
Still, the report concludes, the film industry has a long way to go, and GLAAD is asking studios to commit to making sure 20 percent of their releases include LGBTQ characters by 2021, and 50 percent by 2024.
“If Hollywood wants to remain relevant with these audiences and keep them buying tickets, they must create stories that are reflective of the world LGBTQ people and our friends and family know,” Ellis said.
Read the full Studio Responsibility Index report for 2017 here.