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Hollywood failing in the portrayal of LGBT people

Hollywood failing in the portrayal of LGBT people

Hollywood is failing at the representation of LGBT people, according to a new report.

GLAAD has mapped the quantity, quality and diversity of the community in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios during 2013.

Out of the 102 releases from the major studios, only 17 of them included characters identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

The majority of these were minor roles or cameos. Many of these were also outright offensive and defamatory, such as in Pain & Gain and Riddick.

‘The lack of substantial LGBT characters in mainstream film, in addition to the outdated humor and stereotypes suggests large Hollywood studios may be doing more harm than good when it comes to worldwide understanding of the LGBT community,’ said GLAAD’s CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis.

‘These studios have the eyes and ears of millions of audience members, and should reflect the true fabric of our society rather than feed into the hatred and prejudice against LGBT people too often seen around the globe.’

All of the films were put to the ‘gay’ version of the Bechdel test, the renowned critical way of looking at the representation of women in film.

The Vito Russo criteria outlines that first, the film must have a character that identifies as LGBT, second, the character must have other characteristics other than being LGBT, and lastly, the character must matter to the plot.

Only seven of the 17 major studio films featured an LGBT character that managed to pass this test.

In fact, none of the LGBT characters in 2013 could be considered ‘leads’.

If they were, they were supporting roles, a few seconds long, or just enough time to get to a punchline. GLAAD specifically pointed to Anchor Man 2 and Identity Thief for their offensive portrayal of trans people.

‘LGBT people come from all walks of life; we’re your family members, coworkers, neighbors, and peers,’ said Ellis.

‘Hollywood should strive to reflect that truth, rather than turn us into jokes or simply edit us out.’

Both Paramount and Warner Brothers received ‘failing’ grades for including only minor and offensive portrayals of LGBT people in their 2013 releases.

20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios received grades of ‘adequate’.

Sony Columbia was the first and only studio to receive a ‘good’ score for several LGBT-inclusive films. No studio has yet received a grade of ‘excellent’.