Queer representation in 2015 in major studio films was no better than in 2014, a new GLAAD report is saying.
Though network television is getting better with including LGBTQ+ characters in their storylines — it seems there’s still much room for better representation and diversity in films.
The new GLAAD report calls out Disney and Paramount for being two studios that missed out on including a queer character in any of their films in the last year. That’s 365 days they went without a single LGBTQ representative onscreen that could offer audiences this type of diversity — from two major studios.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakes was praised for featuring a female and an African-American protagonist, but GLAAD says the diversity push needs to be more expansive,” reports Variety. “It wants Star Wars: Episode III currently shooting in London, to wave a rainbow flag too.”
Though the franchise is growing when it comes to being more diverse with people of colour and improving their feminism slightly — high praise would be a bit premature as much work still needs to be done. GLAAD is encouraging the Star Wars franchise to get on including a queer character of some variety in their films in the new report.
While it seems Disney is making some kind of effort to get better at representation and diversity — they still have ways to go. It should be noted, though, that they did introduce a canon lady loving couple in the ABC series Once Upon A Time — for which they did receive backlash from some viewers.
Of course, this doesn’t excuse the film studio side for opting out of including any ounce of queer representation. LGBTQ+ representation has been trending hard this year all over the entertainment industry. Television has been a bit better with including queer characters in the last year — the writers and producers are just still working on keeping these characters alive and having the representation being a bit more on point. Online activist groups are working hard to encourage writers to move away from the ‘bury your gays’ trope and voice the fact that LGBT Fans Deserve Better.
GLAAD brings us dire news and is proving their encouragement for better representation with numbers. With 126 releases from the major studios, only 22 of them (17.5 per cent) included LGBTQ characters in them. This was not an improvement from the previous year even.
The majority of inclusive films, according to GLAAD’s findings, that actually had LGBT characters featured gay men (77%) — less than a quarter (23%) included lesbians and less than a tenth (9%) included bisexual characters. For trans representation, there was only one film with a transgender character that was considered inclusive.
“The racial diversity of LGBT characters drastically decreased in films tracked in 2015 after an improvement the year before,” reports GLAAD. In 2015, just a bit more than 25% of LGBT characters were people of color compared with 32% back in 2014.
Queer people of colour were hugely underrepresented. “Of the 47 LGBT characters counted, 34 were white (72.3%), 5 were Latino/a (10.6%), 4 were Black/African American (8.5%), and 3 were Asian/Pacific Islander (6.4%),” reports GLAAD.
The 2016 Studio Responsibility report did point out that the most inclusive major studio tracked in 2015 was Lionsgate with 33% of their films being LGBT-inclusive.
With diversity and representation trending and the attention being brought up around awards season — the entertainment industry needs to pull up its socks and keep up with social evolution. If pop culture wants to accurately reflect current times, the film and television industries need people capable of understanding these social shifts.
Audiences want more. They deserve more. Diversity and representation needs to happen — and in better ways. Read the full GLAAD report here.
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