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LGBT diversity in film has dropped, study finds

Bobby Rae May 2, 2016

Racial diversity of LGBT characters in Hollywood films has taken a sharp dive, a new survey from GLAAD has revealed.

Although the percentage of LGBT characters has remained the same as last year, characters who are not white fell by almost seven percent.

In the survey released today (Monday), GLAAD reported that out of 126 releases from major studios, 22 (17.5%) of them featured a character that identified as LGBT.

This remained consistent with the year before, which had 20 out of 114 films.

However, when it came to racial diversity of these characters there was a noticeable drop. The study found that of the 22 films featuring LGBT characters, only 25.5% were not white. This compared to 32.1% last year.

72.3% of characters were white, 10.6% were latino, 8.5% were black and 6.4% were asian.

The survey comes after the Oscars faced a backlash this year, for not nominating any black or ethnic minorities in the leading actor categories for the second year in a row.

It led to the hashtag #oscarssowhite.

Of the major studios that included LGBT characters, Lionsgate, led the way with eight out of 24 films (33%) being LGBT-inclusive. Warner Brothers followed with five of 25 films (20%), Universal had four of 21 films (19%), and Sony with 3 of 16 films (19%).

Two of Fox’s 17 films were inclusive (12%), but neither Disney nor Paramount included any LGBT content in their 2015 slates of 11 and 12 films respectively.

GLAAD’s President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, said that LGBT characters are often used solely as a punchline targets.

She said: “Hollywood’s films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters.

“The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.”

By contrast, television continued to make strides with shows like ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘Transparent’ and also led the way in their representation of transgender characters.

Only one major film featured a transgender character – Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara’s buddy comedy ‘Hot Pursuit’. This was actually an increase from last year.

Art house divisions of studios, such as Focus Features and Fox Searchlight, fared better overall. Of the 46 films surveyed, 22 percent were LGBT-inclusive, up from 10.6 percent last year.

More: Film Reviews, GLAAD, LGBT diversity, oscarssowhite

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