Hollywood Failed At LGBTQ Representation In 2022 According to GLAAD

The 2022 GLAAD Responsibility Index has determined that there was not enough LGTBQ representation in movies this year.

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

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The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation says that not a single Hollywood studio has done a good job portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer characters in their films. According to the 2022 GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index, which looks at LGBTQ representation in movies released by Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, United Artists, Universal, Disney, and Warner Bros., every single studio has failed to meet its standards.

According to the index, the two studios with the best track record for including LGBTQ characters in movies are United Artists Releasing and Walt Disney Studios. GLAAD states that United Artists had four “LGBTQ-Inclusive” movies out of the nine it released (a total of 44% of its films), while Walt Disney Studios had 5 such films out of the 12 it released (making for 42%). Unfortunately for those studios, GLAAD gives both of those studios an “insufficient” rating. This is the same rating that GLAAD gave to Universal Studios (which they say had three out of 10 LGBTQ-inclusive films, or 30%) and Sony Pictures Entertainment (which only had 13% of its films considered LGBTQ-inclusive).

The other studios that GLAAD follows fared even worse. Warner Brothers received a “poor” rating, releasing only 12% of its films being LGBTQ- inclusive. Both Paramount and Lionsgate released no LGBT-inclusive movies, granting both studios a “failing” grade.

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Despite its name, and being released just this month, the GLAAD 2022 Studio Responsibility index only tracked films for release in 2021. They consider a film to be LGBTQ-inclusive simply based on whether or not the movie contains a character who is clearly defined as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. GLAAD states that, of the 77 major studio releases in 2021, 16 included LGBTQ characters, with a total of 28 characters across all 16 movies. Of those characters, 69% were gay men, 25% were lesbians, 13% were bisexuals, and 6% were trans. GLAAD states that no non-binary characters were represented throughout the entirety of 2021. 

GLAAD also voiced disappointment at the fact that there were no LGBTQ characters in kids’ movies during the entirety of 2021. This is the first time this has happened in three years. 

In addition to looking for LGBTQ representation in movies, GLAAD has chosen to apply the “Vito Russo Test” in films. Inspired by the famous Bechdel Test, which has the comically low standard of only approving movies that include two women who talk to each other about something other than a man, the Vito Russo test attempts to make sure that LGBTQ characters are more than just window-dressing. However, the test does have more stringent standards, requiring that the film contains an LGBTQ character who is not defined solely by their gender identity, plays a significant role in the plot, and is not stereotypical in its portrayal. 

According to the report, only 56% of 2021’s LGBTQ-inclusive movies passed the Vito Russo Test, or 12% of the total films released that year. This is a decrease from the past four years — in 2020, 90% of LGBTQ-inclusive movies passed the test, while 73% passed in 2019, 65% in 2018, and 64% in 2017.