The results are in and they aren’t great.
GLAAD has released its annual Studio Responsibility Index (a report on LGBTQ representation from major studio film releases) and, compared to last year, we took a bit hit in terms of representation. Out of the 109 major film releases in 2017, 14 (12.8%) of them included LGBTQ characters. This is a significant decrease from 2016, which had 18.4% (23 out of 125). It’s also the lowest percentage that GLAAD has reported since they began tracking representation in 2012.
The one positive of this year was an increase in racial diversity among LGBTQ characters. A majority of the characters were actually of people of color (16 out of the 28, or 57%). GLAAD notes, however, that there were no LGBTQ Asian/Pacific Islander characters in major studio releases in 2017.
GLAAD offered a specific goal for major film releases moving forward, outlined in a blog post. “In this year’s Studio Responsibility Index, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis called on the seven major film studios to make sure that 20% of annual major studio releases include LGBTQ characters by 2021, and that 50% of films include LGBTQ characters by 2024.”
GLAAD also called for more inclusive stories that are more center to the film’s plot and representation that is not just left up to interpretation. Interestingly, GLAAD specifically called out comic book movies that have had no queer characters. They cited Thor: Ragnarok and Wonder Woman as examples of source material that had queer characters who did not have queer identities in the film adaptation.
“With wildly successful films like Wonder Woman and Black Panther proving that audiences want to see diverse stories that haven’t been told before, there is simply no reason for major studios to have such low scores on the Studio Responsibility Index,” Ellis said.