If you want to be a #SeriousActor, then it’s probably no secret that being openly LGBTQ in Hollywood isn’t exactly good for your image. Casting directors for major film studios have long casted actors who fit the gender binary mold—if you don’t look like an overtly femme woman, or a big, strong man, then chances are likely that you aren’t landing a leading role. In order for movies to relate to a “mass” (read: conservative) audience, Hollywood’s biggest studios often choose to skip LGBTQ+ characters altogether, which they believe helps make movies more palatable and lucrative.
And apparently those casting direction trends didn’t change much in 2017—major film studios like 20th Century Fox and Sony made nine fewer films with LGBTQ characters in 2017 compared to the year before, according the 2018 Studio Index Responsibility report by media-advocacy organization GLAAD. That may not sound like much, but the report notes that the 7 major film studios they tracked, only made 14 LGBTQ-inclusive films in 2017. What’s worse: 2017 was the lowest percentage ever of these films since GLAAD began tracking in 2012.
“Hollywood is at a tipping point,” the first page of the report reads in giant font, a statement that is clearly chiming for change in an industry dominated by “safe” characters.
“The past year has seen the rise of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, which have transformed the conversation in the industry and among the movie-going public, and are driving change behind the scenes and in the media,” the report continued.
A tipping point, indeed. Since the beginning of the year, people have been championing change across many groups like no other, women and the LGBTQ communities being at the forefront of that change. Representation is something that people are demanding now and the important thing for Hollywood producers to remember, is that these once-marginalized groups are the one’s supporting film.
“On screen, record-breaking films like Black Panther and Wonder Woman prove that not only does inclusion make for great stories – inclusion is good for the bottom line. It is time for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) stories to be included in this conversation and in this movement.”
Read the full report here.