LGBTQ Representation in Hollywood films drops. Photo; Pexels

LGBTQ representation in Hollywood movies dropped

There’s been a decrease in the percentage of LGBTQ characters and time spent on screen included films released by the seven major US studios.


LGBTQ Representation in Hollywood films drops. Photo; Pexels

GLAAD, the American LGBTQ media advocacy organisation, recently released its tenth annual Studio Responsibility Index. 

The index maps the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ characters in films released by the top studios between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021.

These studios are Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros.

None received a grade of “Good” or “Excellent.” Sony Pictures, United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures, and The Walt Disney Studios received a grade of “Insufficient,” Warner Bros. received a grade of “Poor,” and Lionsgate and Paramount pictures both received a grade of “Failing,” for not containing any LGBTQ characters in their films.

GLAAD found that of the 77 films theatrically released by these studios in 2021, 16 (20.8 percent) contained LGBTQ characters, including films such as Our LadiesLicorice PizzaDear Evan HansenEternalsWest Side Story, and In the Heights.


This is a decrease of 1.9 percent from the previous year’s 22.7 percent.

Of the 16 LGBTQ-inclusive films, 11 (69 percent) included gay male characters, up from 60 percent last year, four (25 percent) included lesbian characters.

A strong decrease from last year’s 50 percent and two (13 percent) included a bisexual character, up from 10 percent.

For the first time in five years, GLAAD counted a transgender character in a major studio theatrical release.

That character is Anybody’s, a transgender man, (played by nonbinary actor, iris menas) from Walt Disney’s West Side Story.

There were no trans women or non-binary characters in the 16 films.

The racial diversity of LGBTQ characters dropped slightly year over year to 39 percent, a decrease of one percent.

For the second year in a row, of the 28 LGBTQ characters counted, GLAAD found zero LGBTQ characters with a disability and zero living with HIV.

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For the first time in three years, GLAAD did not count a single inclusive film in the kids and family genre.

There was also a significant decrease in screen time for LGBTQ characters. In the 2021 studio films, only seven of the 28 LGBTQ characters clocked over 10 minutes of screen time, with the majority (17 out of 28) falling under five minutes of screen time, with six of those characters falling under one minute.

At a time when the LGBTQ community is under unprecedented attacks, it is more important than ever to hold studios and corporations accountable as businesses remain the most trusted entity in the US,” said GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis.


In this year’s report, GLAAD included new evaluations of key areas of action with regard to the studio distributor and their parent company’s support or harm to the LGBTQ community. These four areas include:

  • Donations made by a studio or the studio’s parent company to anti-LGBTQ elected officials.
  • Public advocacy efforts by a studio or the studio’s parent company around pro-LGBTQ or anti-LGBTQ legislation.
  • LGBTQ-inclusive public communications by a studio or the studio’s parent company.
  • Actions taken by a studio or the studio’s parent company to support LGBTQ-inclusive films in the US and internationally.

“This new addition to our methodology tracking corporate actions makes it clear that entertainment and media companies need to expand beyond onscreen representation.LGBTQ people deserve to have positive representation reflected in cinemas around the world, and to know that the people and companies who make and market LGBTQ-inclusive films unequivocally stand up for LGBTQ folks,” said Ellis.

“After a decade of this report, we’ve seen exponential growth in LGBTQ representation in film driven by our study. Yet there still remains so much work to be done in Hollywood,” added Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Director of Entertainment Research and Analysis.

“There are so many parts of our community – bisexual+ people, those living with HIV, LGBTQ characters with disabilities, and transgender people, to name a few – that have yet to see themselves fully reflected on the big screen. As we look to the next ten years, these stories must become a priority if studios want younger and more diverse generations to continue to support and engage with their storytelling,” said Townsend.

Article by Roberto Igual

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