Problem: 2013 Only Featured 17 Movies With Gay Characters

glaad_embedPhoto: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
GLAAD's seccond annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI) was released yesterday and the results are less than stellar. Out of the 102 major Hollywood films released last year, only 17 were LGBT inclusive. That's roughly 17% of the movies studied; an improvement on last year's meager 14%, but low nonetheless.
In order to be considered "inclusive," a movie only needs to have one LGBT character. If so, GLAAD put the film through the "Vito Russo" test to determine whether the LGBT depiction was positive or negative. Of the 17 films deemed inclusive, only seven had LGBT characters that weren't solely defined by their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and were important characters to the overall plot. Last year, only six passed the test.
Tests that do not pass the test are deemed offensive. This is important because, as the report states, "Hollywood film reveals much about who we are as a society." Even among the films that did pass the test (The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones, being one), diversity is still a major problem. GLAAD reports that over half of the LGBT characters of 2013 were gay males; 76% of the characters were white. Trans females made up about 12% of the results. (There were zero trans male characters, but, considering that there were zero trans* characters throughout 2012, two is better than none.) None of the characters were leads, however, and received merely minutes of screen time.
It's easy to get hung up on the low percentages GLAAD's report wielded. Yes, they're not ideal, but this test is only in its second year. And, in that year, there have been improvements — small, but still improvements. Each of the seven studios studied and rated on a scale from "Failing" to "Good" (the highest accolade given so far), and will hopefully use the numbers as incentive to cull more positive LGBT representations — and not just the flamboyant token gay character that's either the butt of every joke or a total stereotype. Those representations are almost worse than not having an LGBT character at all, really. Those are the representations that foster the prejudices LGBT people face regularly. The results show that, yes, a new normal is coming, but with a little help from Hollywood, that normal could be here sooner than we know it. (TIME)

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