GLAAD is calling on Hollywood to “urgently prioritize active development” of stories featuring transgender, non-binary, and “LGBTQ characters living with HIV” and/or “disabilities” after a recent study found that these demographics were “completely absent” from major studio releases in 2020.
Released annually since 2013, the LGBT+ advocacy’s Studio Responsibility Index is “a study that maps the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ characters in films released by the eight major film studios,” namely Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, STX Films, United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros.
As reported in their recently released ninth entry of their annual study, while LGBTQ characters were featured in “22.7 percent” of major studio releases in 2020, “For the fourth year in a row, there were zero transgender and/or non-binary characters counted in the major studio films released.”
Of this lack of transgender and/or non-binary characters, GLAAD asserted that their “call for increased transgender and non-binary representation and storytelling, especially in a political climate with anti-transgender legislation moving forward at a record pace, remains.”
According to the report, “The last transgender character GLAAD counted was an offensive caricature in the 2016 film Zoolander 2, a non-binary model named All portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.”
Likewise, though the group praised how “racial diversity of LGBTQ characters saw a welcome increase” of “six percent” and LGBTQ characters saw “a significant increase in [their] screen time” and had mixed feelings on an observed “[4 percent] decrease in bisexual representation, and a [14 percent] increase in lesbian representation,” they took issue with how “Of the 20 LGBTQ characters in this report, GLAAD found zero characters living with HIV and also zero LGBTQ characters with a disability.”
In response to the absence of HIV positive and/or disabled LGBTQ characters, GLAAD called “on the distributors tracked in this report to urgently prioritize active development and theatrical release in coming years of stories featuring LGBTQ characters living with HIV.”
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