Overview of Findings

  • Of the 109 film releases GLAAD counted from the major studios in 2017, 14 (12.8 percent) contained characters identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer. This is a significant decrease of 5.6 percentage points and down nine films from the previous year’s 18.4 percent (23 of 125 films). While part of this drop may be due to increased rigorous methodology it was also an overall bleak year for inclusion in major studio film.
  • Gay men remain the most represented in film by far with 64 percent (nine) of the inclusive films featuring gay male characters. This is a drop of 19 percentage points from the previous report (83 percent of inclusive films). Lesbian representation remained steady, up one point to 36 percent (five) of inclusive films including lesbian characters. There was a small increase in bisexual representation: 14 percent (two) of major studios’ LGBTQ-inclusive films counted bi characters as compared to 13 percent in the previous year’s report. There were zero transgender-inclusive films from the major studios in 2017.
  • GLAAD tallied 28 total LGBTQ characters among all mainstream releases in 2017, down from 70 in 2016 and 47 in 2015. It is important to note that 14 of the characters counted in 2016 were part of a single musical number in Universal Pictures’ PopStar: Never Stop Never Stopping, which misleadingly inflated the numbers that year. Men again outnumber women characters by more than two to one, there were 20 men and eight women, compared to 47 men and 22 women in 2016’s major studio releases. There were no transgender or non-binary characters counted in mainstream releases this year.
  • The racial diversity of LGBTQ characters actually saw a welcome increase in films tracked in 2016 after two straight years of dramatic drops. In 2017, 57 percent of LGBTQ characters were people of color, compared to 20 percent in films released in 2016 and 25.5 percent in 2015. Of the 28 LGBTQ characters counted, 12 were white (43 percent), eight were Black/African American (28.5 percent), and eight were Latinx (28.5 percent). There were zero Asian/Pacific Islander LGBTQ characters or any other race/ethnicity.
  • For the first time since GLAAD began this report, comedy is no longer the genre with the most LGBTQ-inclusive films from major studios. Of the 109 films tracked, GLAAD identified 47 films as genre films (action, sci-fi, fantasy/horror), of which six (13 percent) were inclusive. Following in order, GLAAD counted 20 films as comedies with five (25 percent) being inclusive, two of 24 dramas (eight percent), and one of 16 animated/family films (six percent) included LGBTQ characters. There were no LGBTQ-inclusive documentaries from the major studios in 2017.
  • Universal Pictures was by far the most LGBTQ-inclusive of all the major studios tracked in this year’s report, literally doubling the number of inclusive films of most other studios. Four of Universal’s 14 total films (29 percent) were LGBTQ-inclusive in 2017. In a four-way tie for second: two of Paramount’s 11 films (18 percent), two of Fox’s 14 films (14 percent), two of Lionsgate’s 19 films (11 percent), and two of Warner Brothers’ 18 films (11 percent) included LGBTQ characters. One of Disney’s eight films (13 percent) included a gay character, and Sony rounds out the group with one inclusive film of 25 total (four percent).

GLAAD also examined the film releases of four smaller, affiliated studios (Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Roadside Attractions, and Sony Pictures Classics) to draw a comparison between content released by the mainstream studios and perceived "art house" divisions. Of the 40 films released under those studio imprints in 2017, we found 11 to be LGBTQ-inclusive (28 percent). This is up from 17 percent (seven of 41) of films from the same divisions found to be inclusive in 2016. In 2015, GLAAD found 22 percent (10 of 46) of films from these indie distributors to be inclusive, which was a welcome increase from the first year of counting these studios when we counted only 10.6 percent (five of 47).

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