LGBTQ+ Hollywood
2 min read

The number of LGBTQ+ characters and their time on screen has been dropping, according to a new report released by the LGBTQ+ media advocacy organisation GLAAD.

GLAAD, which recently released its tenth annual Studio Responsibility Index, mapped the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ+ characters in films released by the top studios between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021 and showed a decrease in representation from the previous year.

The top US studios, including Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros, were also given an individual rating by GLAAD, with none receiving a grade of “Good” or “Excellent.”


According to the GLAAD report, of a total of 77 films released by these studios in 2021, only 16 (20.8%) contained LGBTQ+ characters, including films such as Our LadiesLicorice PizzaDear Evan HansenEternalsWest Side Story, and In the Heights, marking a decrease of 1.9% from the previous year’s 22.7%.

Of the 16 LGBTQ+-inclusive films, 11 (69%) included gay male characters, up 60% from the previous year. Four (25%) included lesbian characters, a decrease from last year’s 50%, while only two (13%) had a bisexual character.

The GLAAD report also counted a single transgender character in a major studio release, something not seen in the past five years, with a transgender man (played by nonbinary actor Iris Menas) from Walt Disney’s West Side Story. There were no trans women or non-binary characters in the 16 films.

The GLAAD report also highlighted a drop in racial diversity of LGBTQ+ characters by 1% to 39%. Additionally, for the second year in a row, of the 28 LGBTQ+ characters counted, GLAAD found zero LGBTQ+ characters with a disability and zero living with HIV.

Time on scene had also fallen for LGBTQ+ characters, with 2021 studio films only giving 7 of the 28 LGBTQ+ characters over 10 minutes of screen time, with the majority (17 of the 28) getting under five minutes – with 6 falling under one minute.

Speaking about the report, GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis says, “At a time when the LGBTQ community is under unprecedented attacks, it is more important than ever to hold studios and corporations accountable as businesses remain the most trusted entity in the US.”

“After a decade of this report, we’ve seen exponential growth in LGBTQ representation in film driven by our study. Yet there still remains so much work to be done in Hollywood,” added GLAAD’s Director of Entertainment Research and Analysis, Megan Townsend.

“There are so many parts of our community – bisexual+ people, those living with HIV, LGBTQ characters with disabilities, and transgender people, to name a few – that have yet to see themselves fully reflected on the big screen. As we look to the next ten years, these stories must become a priority if studios want younger and more diverse generations to continue to support and engage with their storytelling,” Townsend concluded.

Last Updated on Jan 5, 2023

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