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LGBTQ Representation in Hollywood Movies Dropped Sharply in 2021, New GLAAD Study Finds

While the report praised films like ”West Side Story“ and ”The Eternals,“ all studios were graded poorly for low representation

GLAAD’s 10th Annual Studio Responsibility Index, which was released on Thursday, found that the percentage of LGBTQ-inclusive films dipped in 2021, as did racial diversity and screen time for queer characters. And two major studios, Lionsgate and Paramount, both received a failing grace for not having a single gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer character in their 2021 films.

The organization also handed out “insufficient” or “poor” grades to the five other major studios — Sony Pictures, United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros. — for their lack of onscreen representation.

Only nine films passed GLAAD’s Vito Russo test, named for the late “Celluloid Closet” author: LGBTQ characters must be identifiable as such, must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity, must matter to the plot of the film, and must not be a stereotype. In films with multiple LGBTQ characters, at least one character must pass for the film to receive an overall thumbs-up.

The nine major studio films that passed are Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios) which featured the transgender character Anybodys, played by nonbinary actor iris menas; Disney’s “Eternals” — which featured Marvel’s first openly gay couple and kiss — and “Jungle Cruise;” MGM’s “No Time To Die,” with implied gay character Q (Ben Whishaw); Sony’s “Our Ladies,” Universal’s “Licorice Pizza,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” and “Candyman” and Warner Bros.’ “In the Heights.”

All seven studios received “Insufficient,” “Poor,” or “Failing” grades in the new-to-the index evaluation of public advocacy on LGBTQ issues, employee resources, and political giving from studios and parent companies.

Despite ousted Disney CEO Bob Chapek‘s fumbled response earlier this year to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the studio received the top rating of 100 on the 2022 Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index for employee benefits that include same-sex partners and transgender health care, the report notes.

The full report is at www.glaad.org/sri.