Overview of Findings

  • Of the 44 films that GLAAD counted from the major studios in 2020, ten (22.7 percent) contained LGBTQ characters. This is an increase of 4.1 percent, but a decrease of 12 films from last year’s 18.6 (22 out of 118 films). The limited number of films released theatrically in 2020 is a direct result and consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic which shut down theaters in the U.S. and globally for large portions of the year.
  • This year showed a decrease in bisexual representation, though there was an increase in lesbian representation. Of the ten LGBTQ-inclusive films released in 2020, five films (50 percent) contained a lesbian character, up from last year’s 36 percent, but still a decrease from the 55 percent of films with lesbian characters in 2018. Representation of gay men decreased from 68 percent to 60 percent (six films) this year, while bisexual characters decreased from 14 percent to 10 percent (only one film contained a bi+ character). 
  • GLAAD counted 20 LGBTQ characters among all major studio theatrical releases in 2020, a decrease from last year’s 50. It is important to put this finding into the context of the much reduced sample size of films released. Of those 20, 11 are women and nine are men. This is the first time in the SRI’s history that queer women characters outnumber the men. Once again, there were zero transgender or non-binary characters counted in the major studio films released. 
  • The racial diversity of LGBTQ characters saw a welcome increase this year. Of the 20 LGBTQ characters counted, 40 percent (eight characters) were characters of color, an increase of six percent from 2019, though a decrease of nine characters. This is still 17 percent lower than the record high of 57 percent characters of color in 2017. Of the 20 LGBTQ characters, 11 (55 percent) were white, three (15 percent) were Asian-Pacific Islander, two (10 percent) were Black, two (10 percent) were Latinx, and one (five percent) was Indigenous. One character (five percent) was a non-human alien in Onward. 
  • GLAAD began counting characters with disabilities in our last Studio Responsibility Index, and only found one character. Of the 20 LGBTQ characters in this report, GLAAD found zero LGBTQ characters with a disability
  • This year, comedy was the most inclusive genre by percentage, with four of eight films (50 percent) being LGBTQ-inclusive, while genre films (action/sci-fi/fantasy/horror) had the most LGBTQ-inclusive films (five) of any genre. 
  • Among the studios, STX has the highest percentage of inclusive films at 50 percent (one out of two), while Paramount Pictures Sony Pictures, and Walt Disney Studios had the highest number of LGBTQ-inclusive films with two each. 

Separately, GLAAD examined the film releases of four smaller, affiliated studios - Focus Features, Roadside Attractions, Searchlight Pictures, and Sony Pictures Classics - to build a comparison between content released by the mainstream parent studios and that of their perceived "art house" studio labels. Of the 21 films released under those “art house” imprints in 2020, GLAAD found four to be LGBTQ-inclusive (19 percent). This is a five-percentage point decrease of last year’s 24 percent (eight out of 34).

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