Hollywood has never been very good at depicting LGBT characters, but it was particularly disappointing last year. In its annual Studio Responsibility Index, GLAAD found that of the 126 releases from seven major studios in 2015, “only 22 of them (17.5 percent) included characters identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender.” That’s the same percentage as the year before, and of those 22 films, “almost three quarters (73 percent) include less than 10 minutes of screen time for LGBT characters.” Each studio was also given a grade from Excellent to Failing in LGBT depiction — not a single one got an “Excellent,” or even “Good.” 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment, Sony Columbia Pictures, and Universal Pictures were deemed “Adequate,” while Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Brothers received a “Failing.”
That F- minus grade is expected for Warner Bros. (Kevin Hart’s Get Hard was singled out for having “a brief appearance by a transgender woman, who existed purely to give the audience something to laugh at when her identity is revealed”) and discouraging for Disney, which owns the rights to Star Wars. The kid-friendly Force Awakens featured two protagonists you don’t often see in science-fiction blockbusters, or any blockbusters — a strong female and an African-American — but Star Wars could do better, says GLAAD.
“As sci-fi projects have the special opportunity to create unique worlds whose advanced societies can serve as a commentary on our own, the most obvious place where Disney could include LGBT characters is in the upcoming eighth Star Wars film. 2015’s The Force Awakens has introduced a new and diverse central trio, which allows the creators opportunity to tell fresh stories as they develop their backstory. Recent official novels in the franchise featured lesbian and gay characters that could also be easily written into the stories.” (Via Variety)
Before you ask, no, R2-D2 and C3PO don’t count. They’re not openly gay. Neither are Finn and Poe — their rumored romance was unfortunately shut down by John Boyega. But J.J. Abrams has promised there will be an out-and-proud gay character in further installments. So there’s hope for Captain Phasma and Rey shippers yet. (Is that a thing? Oh god, I just made it a thing.)