There has been a decline of gay characters represented in television over the past year, but a studio ranking of gay characters in film compiled by GLAAD reveals that the film industry is even further behind when it comes to LGBT character representation. As The Hollywood Reporter reports on August 21, the report shows only 14 of the 101 movies released by the major studios in 2012 contained LGBT characters.
GLAAD was generous in the report because even in those 14 movies, credit was given even if there was a suggestion of an LGBT character. Major studios like Disney and Fox got failing grades which reflected on the overall exclusion of characters representing the LGBT community in a positive way. There are still clichés and stereotypes alluded to even with some of the movies that contained LGBT characters.
Matt Kane, GLAAD’s associate director of entertainment believes that “film is in many ways quite behind the curve.”
GLAAD’s Vito Russo Test was then applied to determine the role a LGBT character played in the movie. The report showed that out of the 14 movies that contained an LGBT character, only 6 of those had characters that had more of a significant role that went further than just sexual orientation. The winners of that report were Warner Bros. for “Cloud Atlas” and Universal Studios for “Pitch Perfect. The lowest mark went to the move “Ted” for its use of the words “gay” and “homos” in a derogatory manner.
The report also showed that the majority of the characters represented were white. GLAAD believes there should be a greater responsibility for studios to represent a full diversity of the LGBT community. GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz says diversity is necessary for viewers to acquire a sense of inclusion.
“We are giving studios the opportunity to see where they are now and how to improve by not only creating more significant roles, but a greater diversity of roles and genres. Throughout my experience in the entertainment field and here at GLAAD, I know that whether it’s LGBT or a person of color, we want to see ourselves on the screen. When we don’t see ourselves in films, there’s an underlying message that we are not part of the world.”
GLAAD admits that getting the movie industry to change its ways won’t be easy, but they are planning educational meetings to get the ball rolling. Kane believes “studios need to expand their thinking” in order for there to be change.
“There have been a number of sci-fi shows on TV that have had LGBT characters, and certain comic books are much more inclusive.”
And there have been successful movies like the Oscar winning movie “Milk”, but overall fewer movies are being produced but there are gay writers and directors working for these major studios who can push for characters important to them and important to the community.