'Slight improvement' in Hollywood diversity in 2014, says GLAAD.

Annual survey looked at LGBT representation in top films.

by Jennie Kermode

Sandra Oh and Kathy Bates play a lesbian couple in Tammy
Sandra Oh and Kathy Bates play a lesbian couple in Tammy

GLAAD's annual survey of major studio Hollywood films has found a slight improvement in the number of lesbian, gay and bisexual characters, but concludes that most roles remain insubstantial, it emerged today. It found no transgender characters at all in the 114 films surveyed.

"As television and streaming services continue to produce a remarkable breadth of diverse LGBT representations, we still struggle to find depictions anywhere near as authentic or meaningful in mainstream Hollywood film. The industry continues to look increasingly out of touch by comparison, and still doesn't represent the full diversity of the American cultural fabric," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

17.5% of the films included LGBT characters, of whom 65% were gay men, 10% were lesbian and the remainder were bisexual. 32% of these characters were people of colour, a more accurate representation of the societies portrayed than in previous years. As was the the case last year, comedies were most likely to be inclusive. Action, fantasy and science fiction films scored worst. This presents an apparent contrast with their low budget equivalents, which have been getting more inclusive, but the GLAAD survey does not cover independent film. This year it did look at four small affiliates of the major studios - Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Roadside Attractions, and Sony Pictures Classics - but found only 10 of their 47 releases to be inclusive.

Of the characters represented, half had under five minutes of screentime each. Some were only recognisable as LGBT because they were based on real life people, so not all audience members would have recognised them as such. The other half, however, all passed the Vito test (they were uniquely drawn characters with real roles to play in the plot) - a significant improvement.

Warner Bros. received praise for Melissa McCarthy comedy Tammy, which features Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh as a lesbian couple, but was criticised for Get Hard. Screened Out: Playing Gay In Hollywood author Richard Barrios has condemned the latter combining gay panic and rape jokes.

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