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GLAAD report card: Hollywood films 'lag far behind' in LGBT diversity

By
Allen Cone
Actor Kevin Hart at CinemaCon 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 12, 2016. Hart was the star of the 2015 movie Wedding Ring, playing the part of a man who rents himself out as a best man for weddings. The movie was criticized for its gay panic humor. Photo by James Atoa/UPI
Actor Kevin Hart at CinemaCon 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 12, 2016. Hart was the star of the 2015 movie "Wedding Ring," playing the part of a man who rents himself out as a best man for weddings. The movie was criticized for its "gay panic humor." Photo by James Atoa/UPI | License Photo

HOLLYWOOD, May 2 (UPI) -- Hollywood film studios "lag far behind" in portraying LGBT people in films, according to GLAAD's fourth annual report card released Monday.

The Studio Responsibility Index maps the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBT people in films released by the seven largest studios during 2015.

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The survey found that of 126 releases from the studios, 22 of them (17.5 percent) portrayed characters identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. This represents no change from the previous year.

"Hollywood's films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters," said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO. "Too often, the few LGBT characters that make it to the big screen are the target of a punchline or token characters. The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant."

No studios received a rating of "Good" for their 2015 releases. Four studios -- 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment, Sony Columbia Pictures and Universal Pictures -- all received ratings of "Adequate" while the other three -- Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers -- all received a "Failing" grade for their portrayals of LGBT people.

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Next year, GLAAD's SRI will institute a five-star scale -- from one star ("Failing") to five stars ("Excellent") -- instead of the four grades.

The majority of LGBT characters in mainstream films were minor characters or just cameo appearances.

The report noted studios are "shockingly far behind other media" in terms of depictions of transgender characters. The lone character found was in Warner Brothers' Hot Pursuit. It was a brief appearance by a transgender woman, who provided a laugh for the audience when her identity is revealed.

GLAAD also described a "noticeable resurgence of outright offensive depictions of LGBT people, which relied on gay panic and defamatory stereotypes for cheap laughs."

It noted the Kevin Hart-starring films Get Hard and The Wedding Ringer, which "contain more blatant and incessant gay panic humor than we have seen in a Hollywood film in years."

A Gallup poll in 2014 found that 1.6 percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian, and 0.7 percent identify as bisexual.

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