GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) released its annual assessment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters in Hollywood movies, and to no one’s surprise, there aren’t many of them. Out of all the movies released in 2013 by seven of the major motion picture studios (20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony Columbia, Universal, Disney and Warner Brothers), GLAAD found only four significant LGBT characters in science fiction, action and fantasy films, eight in comedies, and five in dramas. In other words—the main characters in the majority of movies are straight. To make movie land a little more balanced, it would be nice to see a shift in sexuality representation.
Using LGBT characters in movies is no longer about dehumanization, it’s about humanization. Here are some of the trailblazing LGBT characters that the big screen and the world need more of:
Harvey Milk – Milk
Based on the life of gay rights activist, Harvey Milk, who became California’s first openly gay elected official. He paved the way for future gay activists to affect change in the United States.
Bree – Transamerica
A pre-operative transsexual who discovers she fathered a son she never knew about, and now must form a relationship with him. It’s not a film about transsexuals taking over the nation, as the title implies, but a touching, non-judgemental drama about an average woman who is unhappy with the body she was born with.
Adele – Blue is The Warmest Color
It’s unclear whether Adele is bisexual or a lesbian, but either way, she is a character who goes through a major transformation when she meets and falls in love with a woman. The sex scenes may not be an entirely accurate portrayal of lesbian sex, but Adele doesn’t lack depth, passion or a desire for growth—which is really all we can hope for in a character.
Andrew Beckett – Philadelphia
Andrew is fired from his law firm for having AIDS, and the only lawyer who agrees to represent him in a wrongful dismissal suit is a small time homophobic lawyer. The film brought a lot of awareness to HIV/AIDS and prompted much of the world to change their attitudes toward the disease.
Gia Carangi – Gia
The film is based on the true story of Gia Carangi, who was one of the top super models in the 1970s before she died from complications with AIDS at age 26. It’s unclear if Gia was a lesbian or bisexual, but she was said to have epitomized lesbian chic more than a decade before the term even existed.
Brandon Teena – Boys Don’t Cry
Also based on a true story, a transgendered man attempts to find love, but is beaten, raped and murdered by a group of men after they discover he is anatomically female. The film explores the themes of freedom, courage, identity, and empowerment.
Everyone – Rent
Almost every main character in Rent is either a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. It’s the film adaptation of the award-winning musical (that most of us are still obsessed with) about a group of friends in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love, and AIDS.
Albus Dumbledore – Harry Potter
Surprise! The most loved of all the Hogwarts headmasters is gay. It’s implied, but never mentioned in the films (characters don’t always need to announce their sexuality to have one). In an interview in 2007, J.K. Rowling said, “I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. . . If I’d known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!”