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GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index Reveals Hollywood Is Sucking with LGBT Representation

GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index Reveals Hollywood Is Sucking with LGBT Representation

GLAAD released its second annual Studio Responsibility Index today, grading the seven largest motion picture studios on the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people in their films released during 2013.

GLAAD’s research revealed that only 17 of the studios’ 102 releases in 2013 included LGBT characters, a slight improvement from the 14 LGBT inclusive films from 2012. However, while there was a minor increase in number of films including LGBT characters, a majority of them were minor roles or cameos, many of which were defamatory representations of LGBT people. Not a single mainstream film from the seven studios included an LGBT lead character.

“The lack of substantial LGBT characters in mainstream film, in addition to the outdated humor and stereotypes, suggests large Hollywood studios may be doing more harm than good when it comes to worldwide understanding of the LGBT community,” said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

Using the Vito Russo Test — a set of criteria named after GLAAD cofounder and celebrated film historian Vito Russo, which was developed last year to analyze how LGBT characters are represented in fictional works — GLAAD examined the 17 films.

The Vito Russo Test requires films fulfill each of the following to receive a passing grade:

  1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT).
  2. That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity (i.e. the character is made up of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight characters from one another).
  3. The LGBT character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect. Meaning they are not there to simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or (perhaps most commonly) set up a punchline; the character should matter.

Only seven of the 17 films that featured an LGBT character managed to pass the Vito Russo Test.

On the following pages, see how each studio was ranked and rated in GLAAD’s 2013 Studio Responsibility Index.


Above: Kyle Chandler in Broken City

20th Century Fox
2013 Rating: Adequate

GLAAD gave Fox, which in the past has produced groundbreaking films like Myra Breckinridge (1970), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and Making Love (1982), the rating of “adequate” for its 2013 lineup. Out of the 14 films released last year, only one, Broken City, included LGBT characters and passed the Vito Russo Test, though the sexuality of Cameron Diaz’s character in another feature, The Counselor, has been the subject of debate.
Although some of its language and language usage in Broken City is problematic (“fag” is volleyed during a sporting match), the political drama, which stars Russell Crowe as the mayor of New York and Mark Wahlberg as a private eye he hires to investigate his wife for infidelity, eventually finds its footing. A minor but essential character, Paul, who the mayor suspects of being the other participant is his wife’s affair, is eventually revealed to be the gay lover of the rival mayoral candidate. Although Paul is murdered and martyred, GLAAD notes that he is “the closest thing the film has to a moral center.” One of the scenes also features a Human Rights Campaign event celebrating the passage of marriage equality.
For the inclusion of these two gay characters in Broken City, while giving Fox the “adequate” rating, GLAAD noted that “this definitely counts as progress, and we hope Fox keeps moving in the right direction.” However, the organization hopes that in the future, such characters won’t be featured with “blink and you’ll miss it’ subtlety.”


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