Queer Characters Are Woefully Underrepresented On The Big Screen, Report Finds

?Moonlight? proved to be the little movie that could this year, winning Best Picture over the splashy, big budget musical ?La La Land? at the Academy Awards in February.  

Seeing an independent, coming-of-age tale that tackled homophobia, racism and patriarchal norms clean up at the Oscars felt like a victory on many levels. However, a new report finds that the film?s success was very much an anomaly, and when it comes to Hollywood and the LGBTQ community, things are not getting better. 

Despite much-buzzed-about queer moments in ?Beauty and the Beast? and ?Star Trek Beyond,? only 18.4 percent of 125 major movies released in 2016 featured characters who identified as LGBTQ, according to GLAAD?s 2017 Studio Responsibility Index. It?s a slight uptick from the previous year, when the report found that 17.5 percent of movies released in 2015 contained queer characters. GLAAD officials, however, say that the figure is still troubling, especially given the fact that most of the queer characters we do see are based on ?outdated stereotypes? played for ?cheap laughs.? 

GLAAD launched the first Studio Responsibility Index in 2012 in an effort to ?map the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ characters in films released by the seven major studios,? President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis explained in her introduction to the report. Each film is evaluated not just for inclusion of queer characters, but also the presence of general LGBT content and anti-LGBT language or ?humor,? according to press notes.  

This year?s edition introduced a five-point scale for ranking the films released by Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Brothers over the 2016 calendar year. The system was revised, Ellis explained, to ?hold Hollywood studios to a higher standard reflective of the LGBTQ inclusion that is thriving in other forms of media.?

If only the studios had risen to that occasion. Disney, Sony and Lionsgate received ?failing? grades, while Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros. were labeled ?poor.? Universal fared slightly better, receiving an ?insufficient? grade. None of the studios earned a ?good? or ?excellent? grade. 

Only nine of the 23 major studio films to include an LGBTQ character(s) passed GLAAD?s Vito Russo Test, which measures how those characters are presented in the context of the film in a similar way to the Bechdel Test. Once again, it was a slight uptick from last year?s report in which eight of 22 inclusive films released in 2015 passed, the lowest percentage in the study?s history.

In order to pass the Vito Russo Test, the queer character?s presence in the film must be ?tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect? and, as such, cannot be included only to provide colorful commentary or set up a punchline. Once again, it was a slight uptick from last year?s report in which eight of 22 inclusive films released in 2015 passed, the lowest percentage in the study?s history.

Interestingly, the news comes at a time when television is changing the game for LGBTQ programming, thanks to shows like ?Transparent? and ?Orange is The New Black,? Ellis noted, making it vital for the movie industry ?to step up and show the full diversity of the world that movie audiences are living in today.?

?Films like ?Moonlight? prove there is a huge opportunity to not only tell LGBTQ stories worthy of Oscar gold,? she said in a press release, ?but to open the hearts and minds of audiences here and around the world in places where these stories can be a lifeline to the people who need it most.?

Read more about the 2017 GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index here

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Bernie Sanders Just Tweeted The Most Evergreen Response To CBO Score

Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted out just three words on Wednesday afternoon and Twitter thoroughly appreciated its timelessness.

The tweet came after the Congressional Budget Office said that 23 million fewer Americans would have insurance under the American Health Care Act, legislation that House Republicans passed last month.

Sanders isn?t saying ?what a disgrace? to be flippant ? the AHCA will severely impact millions of people. Particularly elderly and low-income enrollees, who will experience an 800 percent jump in their premiums.

But Twitter is Twitter, and users noted that, yes, it IS a disgrace. And that phrase pretty much applies to everything right now. It?s an evergreen statement, if you will.

Of course, there were other jokes about the tweet, too:

But, disgrace or not, health care right now… is a mess. And that?s not funny at all.

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This Teen’s Senior Portraits Were Taken In A Taco Bell, And They’re Perfect

Most high school students choose a photo studio or tranquil outdoor setting for their senior portraits. 

Andrew McBurnie chose Taco Bell.

The student from Bourbonnais, Illinois posed for his glamour shots at the table where he sat with his friends throughout high school, he told BuzzFeed. And the images are magazine worthy:

McBurnie had his photographer friend Wesley Taylor set up the shoot, and Taylor says T-Bell was totally cool with it.

?We ordered a taco and a couple drinks at first and then realized we needed way more, so went back and got more tacos and nachos,? Taylor told HuffPost. ?Fortunately we were able to polish it all off at the end! Andrew loves his Taco Bell.?

The setting turned out to be the perfect complement to McBurnie?s suit and bowtie.

?I loved combining the fashion magazine aesthetic with the retro vibes of the restaurant ? plus, Andrew?s basically a model,? Taylor said.

McBurnie?s not the only one with memories from chalupa-land: Other high schoolers have taken Taco Bell-themed portraits in years past.

But then again, they didn?t brave nacho cheese while sporting crisp white suit cuffs. Congrats, Andrew!

H/T Buzzfeed

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