GLAAD recently presented its yearly Film Inclusivity Report during a live event at Ed Gould Plaza, the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center’s well-known venue. The occasion was made all the more significant by the involvement of influential entertainment unions like SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America.
These unions have recently been in the spotlight for their strikes, drawing attention to the potential risk this poses to diversified storytelling. SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who rose to prominence after a widely covered strike declaration with Fran Drescher, spoke on the vital link between labor rights and LGBTQ+ visibility in the media.
Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO of GLAAD, along with other industry frontrunners, also took part in the conversation, emphasizing the immediacy of these combined struggles.
Speaking as a representative for SAG-AFTRA’s extensive membership, as well as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, Crabtree-Ireland accentuated the need to maintain varied narratives, particularly as the industry’s strikes approach their fifth month.
He also spoke as a parent, underscoring how crucial authentic portrayals in media are for younger viewers. Given that striking workers are grappling with financial difficulties and housing uncertainties, the choice of Ed Gould Plaza, a known center for crisis and mental health services, highlighted the genuine risks at hand.
Crabtree-Ireland called for the resumption of work to ensure that a variety of voices continue to be heard in media.
Several industry heavyweights, including Michele Mulroney, the vice president of WGA, and Jason Stuart, co-chair of SAG-AFTRA’s National LGBTQ Committee, contributed to the discussion. Both Alexandra Gray and Stuart openly disclosed that they had previously utilized services offered by the LA LGBTQ Center.
This year’s Film Inclusivity Report examined 10 leading film distributors, including industry giants like Amazon Studios and Netflix. Of the 350 films released in 2022 that were analyzed, a concerning 100 only included an LGBTQ character.
GLAAD’s report provided some unsettling numbers about the state of LGBTQ visibility in movies. More than half of LGBTQ roles had less than five minutes of screen time, and despite a slight increase in the overall number of LGBTQ characters, those of color saw almost no increase.
The report also categorized characters by gender, showing that of 292 LGBTQ roles, the majority were male, fewer were female, and a small number identified as nonbinary. The data indicated that only 21% of films featuring LGBTQ characters included bisexual roles, even though they form 58% of the LGBTQ community, according to Gallup’s findings.
Furthermore, transgender roles appeared in just 12% of films, and a mere 4% of characters represented those with disabilities. HIV representation was virtually missing, accounting for less than 1% of roles, revealing the film industry’s continued challenges with broad and nuanced LGBTQ representation.