GLAAD has revealed in a new report that LGBTQ visibility has increased in movies overall but there are still major problems with the representation.
The LGBTQ media advocacy group’s annual report looks at movies from eight major studios. It found that 22 of the 118 movies released last year included characters identifying as part of the LGBTQ community. Many of them, however, failed to pass the Vito Russo test. The Vito Russo test measures the tokenism of a character. If a character is not essential to the plot and seems to only be defined by their identity as part of the LGBTQ community, then they fail the test.
GLAAD did approve a number of films and characters, including Taron Egerton as Elton John in “Rocketman”, Kaitlyn Dever’s portrayal of Amy in “Booksmart”, Antonio Banderas as Salvador Mallo in “Pain and Glory”, and Bill Hader’s performance as Richie in “It: Chapter Two”.
The report found that two major blockbuster franchises from Disney have room for improvement. “Avengers: Endgame” includes a minor character speaking at a therapy session and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” features a brief on-screen kiss from two women. According to GLAAD, however, the scenes are too brief and minor to satisfy representation.
The racial diversity of these characters has gone down from 2018. The previous year’s report found that almost half of the LGBTQ characters in these movies were people of colour. This year’s report revealed that number has dropped down to a third. Trans characters were also nowhere to be found in last year’s roster of releases.
This year may have opportunities to improve on last year’s results. There are several movies featuring LGBTQ characters that are slated for release in the near future. An “X-Men” spinoff, “The New Mutants”, features a same-sex romance central to the story and is slated for release in August. Marvel Studios may have a chance to redeem itself in the upcoming film “The Eternals”, which is teased to feature a gay character.