LOS ANGELES – Hollywood keeps getting it wrong when it comes to diverse and accurate portrayals of LGBT communities, according to the media advocacy organization GLADD.
A study released by the association found that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are "nearly invisible or outdated punchlines in big Hollywood movies."
Of the 125 releases from major studios in 2016, only 23 of them, or 18.4 percent, included characters identified as LGBT. Of those characters, gay men are still by far the most represented group, at 83 percent. Bisexual representation appeared in 13 percent of the inclusive films, while lesbian representation rose from 23 percent in 2015 to 35 percent last year. Transgender representation was the lowest, with only one character counted, the same as in the 2015 report.
Racially speaking, such diversity among LGBT characters dropped for the second year in a row. In 2016, only 20 percent of LGBT characters were people of color, compared with 25.5 percent in 2015 and 32.1 percent in 2014. Of the total 70 LGBT characters counted, 48 were white (69 percent), nine were black (13 percent), four were Asian or Pacific Islander (6 percent) and one was Latinx, the de-gendered term for those of Latin descent (1 percent). Eight characters (11 percent) were not human.
Such numbers are in stark contrast to what appears to be a more inclusive space on television.
"With many of the most popular TV shows proudly including LGBT characters and stories, the time has come for the film industry to step up and show the full diversity of the world that movie audiences are living in today instead and end the outdated humor seen in films like 'Baywatch,' " said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD's president.
"Films like 'Moonlight' prove there is a huge opportunity to not only tell LGBT stories worthy of Oscar gold, but to open the hearts and minds of audiences here and around the world in places where these stories can be a lifeline to the people who need it most."
In the study, GLAAD rated each major film studio on its LGBT inclusiveness and whether the inclusive films pass the Vito Russo Test, which examines how LGBT characters are portrayed and situated within a narrative.
To pass the test, a film must contain a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer; that character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity, and the character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have significant effect.
GLAAD has a five-tier system: excellent, good, insufficient, poor or failing. No major studio has ever earned an "excellent" rating in the five years that GLAAD has conducted the study.
How they rated
Here's how each studio stacked up in this year's GLADD study:
20th Century Fox: Poor. Of the 16 films released in 2016, only three (19 percent) included an LGBT character. Two of them passed the Vito Russo Test.
Lionsgate: Failing. It released 24 films in 2016, but only three included LGBT characters. That is about 12.5 percent. One of the three films passed the Russo Test.
Paramount Pictures: Poor. The studio released 15 movies in 2016, five (or 33 percent) of which included LGBT folk. Three of the films passed the Russo Test.
Sony Pictures: Failing. The studio released two (of 21) films with LGBT characters. Only one of the two films passed the Russo Test.
Universal Pictures: Insufficient. This was the best rating for any of the major studios. Universal released 17 films in 2016, and five had LGBT characters. Two of the pictures passed the Russo Test.
Walt Disney Studios: Failing. The studio's first sort-of gay (but not really) character came this year in the reboot of "Beauty and the Beast." Of the 13 films it released last year, only one included appearances by LGBT people. That film, "Zootopia," did not pass the Russo Test.
Warner Bros.: Poor. In 2016, Warner Bros. released 19 films, four of which (21 percent) were LGBT-inclusive. None of the films passed the Russo Test. GLADD did note that "Storks," an animated comedy about the delivery of babies to new families, included gay and lesbian couples in its finale montage.