Media watchdog GLAAD finds glaring lack of LGBT images in film releases by seven of the largest studios during 2015.
According to a new report released on Monday, Hollywood continues to play on straight anxiety and cheap laughs when portraying gay people.
GLAAD found that of the 126 releases from major studios in 2015, only 22 of them (17.5%) included characters identified as LGBT. This marks no change from the 17.5% of films in 2014 with LGBT characters. More than three quarters of inclusive films (77%) featured gay male characters, less than a quarter (23%) included lesbian characters, and less than a tenth (9%) included bisexual characters. There was only one trans-inclusive film among all releases by major studios.
While television continues to make strides with shows like Orange is the New Black and Transparent, films are also missing the mark in their representation of transgendered characters.
“Hollywood’s films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO. “Too often, the few LGBT characters that make it to the big screen are the target of a punchline or token characters. The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.”
Get Hard, from Warner Bros., sparked controversy ahead of its release for jokes deemed racially offensive and homophobic.
“One of the most problematic films in several years, the gay panic-exploiting comedy Get Hard amounts to a nearly two-hour prison rape joke, ” the report said.
The Studio Responsibility Index (SRI) also found that racial diversity among LGBT characters in film dropped drastically year over year. In 2015, 25.5% of LGBT characters were people of color, compared to 32.1% in 2014. Of the LGBT characters counted in 2015, 34 (72.3%) were White, 5 were Latino/a (10.6%), 4 were Black/African American (8.5%), and 3 (6.4%) were Asian/Pacific Islander.
The organisation vetted gay-themed films for responsible portrayals. It approved the likes of Freeheld (Summit/Lionsgate) and The Danish Girl (Focus Features), but blasted Roland Emmerich‘s Stonewall (Roadside Attractions).
The critical and box office disaster, which depicted the Stonewall riots in New York City that helped launch the modern gay rights movement in the late 1960s, was blasted for the whitewashing of real-life characters and revisionist storytelling.
GLAAD said the film removed “many of the real stories of LGBT people of color and women who were instrumental in the rebellion… their erasure from this turning point in LGBT history was unjustified.”
Notable 2015 films like the lesbian romance Carol and the transgender sex worker drama Tangerine were acknowledged in the report, but not included in overall percentages because they were from specialty and independent distributors and studios.
In 2015, GLAAD debuted a video titled Hollywood Must Do Better that highlighted a bevy of anti-LGBT moments in Hollywood films over the last five years. Additionally, GLAAD’s Where We Are on TV report, which forecasts the expected presence of LGBT characters for the upcoming television, will be issued later this year.