Transgender characters are ‘almost completely invisible’ in Hollywood movies, University of Southern California says.
A new report looks at the representation of LGBT people in the most popular movies.
It says in 2016, there were no trans characters in the movies. Finding only 1.1% of the characters were LGB.
Of these, the majority were gay males, with just 17% lesbian and 11% bisexual.
This means that in three-quarters of films released in 2016, not a single character was LGBTI.
Speaking to GSN, Trans Media Watch chair Jennie Kermode said the research ‘wasn’t surprising’, but nonetheless is ‘disappointing’:
“Even when Hollywood films do feature trans people they are usually figures of fun, or else the film is a transition story, as if trans people are only of interest in that moment of change.
‘Meanwhile, independent filmmakers are coming up with films like Tangerine, Boy Meets Girl, Just Charlie and more that portray a diverse range of trans characters in equally diverse situations.
Hollywood isn’t making the effort to represent all of the different people who make up its audiences. It’s laziness and lack of imagination don’t just hurt trans people, it leaves everybody poorer.’
Hollywood’s last major trans storyline in the Danish Girl came out in 2015. Eddie Redmayne played Lili Elbe the painter who was one of the first to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
Last year Nick Adams at human rights group GLAAD said casting cisgender people to play trans people: ‘is toxic and dangerous.
‘The decision to put yet another man in a dress to portray a transgender woman touches a nerve for transgender people, and rightfully so. It’s yet another painful reminder that, in the eyes of so many people, transgender women are really just men.’
It’s yet another painful reminder that, in the eyes of so many people, transgender women are really just men.’
All minorities are underrepresented
The data is from a report by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
They looked at the 4,544 characters that appeared in the top 100 films in 2016.
The only increase they found in LGBTI representation was in the number of gay males, slightly increasing in 2015.
However, they didn’t stop at LGBTI representation.
The report looks at information from the last 8 years of films calculating gender, race, disability and LGBT representation in Hollywood.
They find LGBTI people under represented along with women, people with disability, and people of color.
Hollywood still ‘so white’
The report said only 29% of people in films were people of color.
Of the LGBT characters they examined, 79% were white.
Only one film out of the top 100 in 2016 portrayed a gay protagonist. That was a black male in ‘Best Picture’ winning Moonlight.
The film enjoyed a surge at the US box office over the Academy Awards weekend thanks to its Oscar win.
It is the first and only LGBTI-themed film to ever win Oscar’s top prize.