2017 a low for LGBTQ inclusion, says GLAAD

Only 14 major studio releases included LGBTQ characters

by Jennie Kermode

Battle Of The Sexes - praised as one of the year's most inclusive films
Battle Of The Sexes - praised as one of the year's most inclusive films

2017 was a low point for the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer characters in film, according to the annual report by GLAAD, which was released this week. Only 14 films released by major studios in 2017 featured LGBTQ characters at all, and two thirds of those were gay men, with no trans characters appearing at all.

The results are in stark contrast to the picture presented by independent film in a year in which Moonlight won an Oscar and other hits included God's Own Country, Call Me By Your Name and A Fantastic Woman. Big studio inclusion remains important, however, because many people don't have access to anywhere that screens independent cinema.

Porgs - sexual orientation unknown
Porgs - sexual orientation unknown

One area where GLAAD had praise for the studios was in regard to the racial diversity of LGBTQ characters, with the proportion of people of colour represented rising from 20% to 57%. There were still no Asian American LGBTQ characters, however. "The racial diversity of LGBTQ characters remains a problem across all forms of media," said GLAAD, "and this remains an area we’d like to see Hollywood as a whole improve in going forward. We’d also like to see inclusion of LGBTQ characters with disabilities."

GLAAD criticised Thor: Ragnarok and Wonder Woman for doing nothing to affirm onscreen the identity of characters who are LGBTQ in the comics they are based on. "there are plenty of opportunities to introduce LGBTQ characters into the films that are queer in the comics," they argued.

The claim that an affectionate nuzzle between two male porgs in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was treated with some skepticism by the organisation.

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