The GLAAD 2021 Studio Responsibility Index (SRI) is out, and for the first time, LGBTQ+ women outnumbered LGBTQ+ men in on-screen representation from major studio films.
Of the 20 LGBTQ+ characters who appeared on-screen in 2020, 11 were women and 9 were men, according to the SRI report, which was released Thursday. This was the first time in SRI history that the number of female characters surpassed that of their male counterparts.
Overall, the report found that LGBTQ+ characters appeared in 10 out of 44 (22.7%) films released by major studios, up 4.1% from the previous year. However, due to the Covid pandemic, the total number of theatrical releases from major studios was down significantly, from 118 to 44.
The report also found an increase in lesbian representation in films, with 5 of the 10 (50%) including a lesbian character. However, there was an overall decrease in bisexual representation, with only one film, “Birds of Prey,” including a bisexual character (Harley Quinn).
Racial diversity of characters also increased this year. Persons of color accounted for 40% of on-screen LGBTQ+ characters, up 6% from 2019 but down from the record-high of 57% in 2017.
While the report does find some positive trends for LGBTQ+ representation, it also notes some setbacks. Most of the characters appear in mid-budget releases rather than studio tentpoles — many of which have been delayed for release due to the pandemic.
And none of the 20 characters were transgender, continuing a trend which first began in 2017. The report notes that while television shows have made “amazing progress” in telling trans stories, films have lagged behind their small-screen counterparts.
“We’d like to see film catch up to TV in leading change and accelerating acceptance by sharing and uplifting the experiences of trans people,” the report notes.
GLAAD first began tracking LGBTQ+ representation in 2013.