Hollywood Still Struggles With Representation of LGBTQ+ and Trans People of Color

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm May 24, 2019

GLAAD’s newest diversity report shows that Hollywood still has a long way to go when it comes to representation for LGBTQ+ people of color.

“The racial diversity of LGBTQ characters saw a drop this year, with 42 percent of LGBTQ characters being people of color, compared to 57 percent in 2017,” says the 2019 GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index (SRI), released on Thursday (May 23). “There were no transgender or nonbinary characters counted in mainstream releases [in 2017].”

The annual index tracks the diversity, quality and quantity of LGBTQ+ characters in films released by seven major studios; for 2018, the organization researched films from 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros.

“Of the 45 characters counted, 26 were White (58 percent), 10 were Black/African American (22 percent), six were Asian/Pacific Islander (13 percent) and three were Latinx (7 percent).”

While the 15 percent drop in LGBTQ+ characters of color is alarming, the report did find that LGBTQ+ representation increased 5 percent overall from the year before, and for the first time since GLAAD started mapping these trends in 2013, an equal number of films featured gay and lesbian characters.

Other findings in the report show that if Hollywood wants to keep the LGBTQ+ community interested, “the studios must create stories that are reflective of the world LGBTQ people and our friends and family know and make those films accessible in wide release.” From the report:


GLAAD and The Harris Poll’s Accelerating Acceptance report shows that 20 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 and 12 percent aged 35-51 identify as LGBTQ. Twelve percent of Americans 18-34 identify as transgender or gender nonconforming. A majority of these demographics would also call themselves allies—63 percent of Americans 18-34 and 53 percent of Americans 35-51.


Of the 110 films GLAAD counted from the major studios in 2018, 20 (18.2 percent) contained characters identified as LGBTQ.


There were zero transgender-inclusive films from the major studios in 2018, a finding consistent with the previous year.

Read the full report here.