In 2018, Disney was the only one of the seven major film studios with no LGBTI representation in their theatrically released films. None of the other studios managed to have LGBTI representation in at least half of their films.
This information comes from GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index.
GLAAD studied movies released theatrically by the seven highest grossing studios — 20th Century Fox, Disney, Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony, and Lionsgate.
Using their five-tier grading system, two studios received ‘failing’ ratings (Disney, Lionsgate) and three received ‘insufficient’ (Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony). The other two, Fox and Universal, received ‘good’ grades. No studio has ever earned the top grade of excellent.
Will Fox help Disney?
In all the years GLAAD has been doing this report, Disney has consistently had the ‘weakest history when it comes to LGBTQ inclusion’. Since 2012, there have only been two years when Disney surpassed a ‘failing’ grade.
In of their 2018 movies, Disney had a pansexual character — but Lando Calrissian wasn’t pansexual on screen in Solo, just in the opinion of the screenwriter.
Going forward, the studio has opportunities for LGBTI representation. There’s a confirmed gay character in The Jungle Cruise, Marvel is teasing a gay character, and fans are still holding out hope that Elsa won’t be straight in Frozen 2.
Disney now owns the studio with the most LGBTI representation, Fox. 40% of Fox’s 10 theatrically released films had LGBTI representation. The deal only happened recently, however, meaning the studio’s films last years did not fall under Disney’s purview.
Four of Fox’s films passed the Vito Russo test — the exisistence of an LGBTI character who is not defined by their sexuality and significantly affects the plot. The four films were Bohemian Rhapsody, Deadpool 2, Love, Simon, and Red Sparrow.
Further, three of Fox Searchlight’s 2018 films had LGBTI representation, including Can You Ever Forgive Me?, The Favourite, and Super Troopers 2.
Next year, with the acquisition of Fox and its decent history of LGBTI representation, Disney may finally show some decent representation.
No trans characters, most white
GLAAD counted 110 major studio films last year, with 20 (18.2%) of them possessing LGBTI characters. This is up 5.4% from 2017, which counted 14 LGBTI-inclusive films out of 109.
Despite the general trend upwards, there is still work to be done diversifying the LGBTI characters that do exist.
In 2018, a majority of the LGBTI characters were male (26 of 45) and white (58). There is also a lack of diversity among characters’ sexual orientation, with only three last year being bisexual+. Finally, GLAAD counted no transgender characters in any of the major studio films last year.