Tag Archives: Diversity

Despite A Call For More Diversity In Film, Study Finds LGBTQ Inequality Still ‘Entrenched’ In Hollywood

Despite a call for more diversity in film, a new study finds little is changing in Hollywood for women, minorities and LGBT people.

This week, the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism released a study that assessed actors, directors and writers in mainstream films from 2007 through 2015.

The study showed LGBT characters make up less than 1% of speaking parts or 32 out of 35,205 characters.

In 2014 there were no transgender characters, but the number increased to one in 2015.


LGBT character representation increased in 2015, but only two characters were depicted as parents.

The study also found that there was a ratio of 2.2 men with speaking roles for every woman making females 31% of speaking characters in 2015.

The numbers were estimated to be about the same back in 2007.

The number of black, Latino and Asian characters also did not significantly increase from 2007 to 2015, with 12% African American, 5% Latino and 4% Asian characters found.

Professor Stacy Smith, the study’s author, said

We’re seeing entrenched inequality. Whether we’re studying gender, race, ethnicity, LGBT or characters with disabilities, we’re really seeing exclusionary forces leaving out anybody that’s not a straight, white, able-bodied man. Despite all the chatter and all the activism and all the press attention, it’s another year where the status quo has been maintained.”


‘Orphan Black’ Star Tatiana Maslany Talks About Diversity In The Hit TV Show.

In a recent interview with Deadline, Tatiana Maslany discusses the diversity of the characters she plays in BBC America’s hit T.V show Orphan Black. The show is a science fiction series based on cloning and by the end of season four there are 11 different character clones, each one very different and individual and each one played by Tatiana who has just been nominated for an Emmy for the second time.

What makes this programme so unique is the fact all 11 identical female clones portray the diversity of humans, especially regarding sexual orientation as one of the clones is a lesbian and another is a transgender. All of the characters are very complex and some have lives that are not considered normal. and when asked about her opinion on whether this was important she told Deadline:

It’s something that I’m most proud of on our show, especially that it’s through the eyes of a woman and the experiences of a woman.”

dt.common.streams.StreamServerTatiana also gave her opinion on one of the characters, Cosima, who is a lesbian and works as a scientist.

The way that we treat sexuality is something I’m extremely proud of and that I’m very political about as well. One of my favourite lines of our show is when Cosima says, “My sexuality isn’t the most interesting thing about me.” That to me is so important to drive home, to remember that as much as Cosima represents a large community of people, she is more than her sexuality.”

Tatiana was also asked about recent phenomenon regarding the matter of fact way sexual orientation is now portrayed on television. She said:

There’s a real bravery to storytelling right now—people are kind of fed up with misrepresentations of women, with the LGBT community, with minorities. These groups are so underrepresented. We’re so used to seeing men as the default perspective, and that’s just changing intrinsically.”

It’s very reassuring to hear that actresses who play lesbian or bisexual characters are also aware of the misrepresentation we often see in television or film, regardless of whether the actresses themselves are gay or straight. Tatiana is also very compassionate about others and their diversity as individuals as well as she went on to say:

There’s such a divide right now in terms of politics, in terms of people. There’s so much fear of the other, so much hatred. So I’m really proud that our show never really vilifies anybody, that everyone has a humanity and that everyone has vulnerability, and needs, and wants love, and deserves love, regardless of what they’ve done or who they are.”

Tatiana’s talent and the fact she is such an amazing person is one of the reasons the show has such a huge fan base. We all wish her the best of luck with her Emmy nomination for her role and let’s hope she continues to get the recognition she deserves.

How Television Can Solve Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity

Did you watch the Oscars last month? I didn’t, not because I don’t love a good celebrity shindig – especially when there are cameras and copious amounts of alcohol involved – but because if I wanted to see a mostly white, mostly male group of people in power award other mostly white people then I would turn on the news or simply look at the world around me.

In an awards season where Dear White People took on the issue of white people, black culture and racial microaggressions, when Selma looked at the civil rights movement and countless other films about people of colour captivated audiences, the Academy (the group of people who decides who is nominated for and who wins at the Oscars) conveniently engaged its ‘whites only’ tunnel vision.

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Despite all of the astonishing achievements of by actors of colour in Hollywood in the past year, not a single actor of colour was even nominated in the lead or supporting categories. It’s one thing to snub actors of colour but to not even invite them to the party? Hollywood, that’s cold.

The conversation that the controversy has created has been great, however. #OscarsSoWhite trended on Twitter and critics and and moviegoers alike have all being asking the question of ‘why’ and also ‘how’ of Hollywood’s stark whiteness.

The why can be answered with ‘Hollywood is racist’, as despite the the fact that Latino@s and black people are the two fastest growing groups of moviegoers, Hollywood is still quick to ignore or gloss over their stories.

This is especially obvious in the cases of things like The Hunger Games when despite the series of books saying that Katniss isn’t white, the multi-million dollar movie franchise decided to take some real, racist creative license and casted a white actress for the role instead.

As for the ‘how’ the Oscars ended up being so biased, many critics are chalking it down to the popularity and success of films like 12 Years a Slave, Django Unchained, Life of Pi and Beasts of the Southern Wild (which all featured people of colour in lead or main roles) in previous years. Many feel that as Hollywood ‘threw people of colour a bone’ with that previous acknowledgement, they feel that their work is now done and that people of colour will be satisfied.

This year Selma was snubbed almost across the board (although it won for Best Original Song and it was nominated for Best Picture) despite everyone who saw it having raved about its brilliance. British actor David Oyelowo (who plays Martin Luther King Jr.) explained in an interview with Variety that:

“We’ve just got to come to the point whereby there isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy — a notion of who black people are — that feeds into what we are celebrated as. Not just in the Academy, just in life generally. We have been slaves, we have been domestic servants, we have been criminals, we have been all of those things. But we have been leaders, we have been kings, we have been those who changed the world.”

In short, unless the media shows people of colour being let down, trodden on or oppressed, Hollywood just ain’t that interested.
Unless it comes to television.

One prevalent argument coming out of the debate is that television is the next frontier of diversity. This television season alone we saw the mostly-Hispanic TV show Jane The Virgin grace our screens, recent debut Empire focuses on a massively wealthy black family in the music business, How To Get Away With Murder features a no-nonsense black, female lawyer surrounded by several fearless people of colour and black-ish also focuses on a rich black family looking to fit with their white counterparts.


Television has been an absolutely joy to watch these coming months as we’re no longer forced to put up with monotonous white men at the helm, for the sake of a glimpse of a bitpart black woman – we now have a plethora of brilliant, POC-featuring media gracing our screens each and every single night of the week.

So why does TV get it right while the silver screen cannot?

Part of the reason behind the recent emergence of people of colour on television (this year at least) is because it’s driven by business decisions and a need for variety. It’s a well known fact that services like Netflix are steadily chipping away at cable TV viewership and on top of the ease of TV watching that Netflix offers us, it’s also filling a serious diversity gap.

Just look at Orange is the New Black which has a cast almost entirely made of women who are flawed and funny, racially diverse and also aren’t just straight or cisgendered either.

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Given that traditional TV networks need to compete and need to offer us something different and better than the many mostly white and male protagonists that have been littering our screen, it makes sense for them to finally do right by ethnic minorities and put some non-white faces on TV.

It should also be noted that black people watch more TV (in the United States) than white people (Nielsen estimates that black people watch at least two hours more each week) so that may also have been a driving factor.

The statistics aren’t perfect though and while it’s beautiful that TV is becoming more diverse, there’s still lots of work to be done. For example, queer people of colour are still a rarity and there are still plenty of shows that are still mostly white and definitely not representative of the people who are watching them.

As for the hope of TV’s prowess rubbing off on Hollywood, it may take much longer than one awards season to right those racially homogenous wrongs. It’s not just the casting directors of Hollywood that are racist – or just plain ignorant – towards people of colour but it’s the whole damn hierarchy.

It is notoriously difficult for non-white filmmakers and actors to breakthrough to the big leagues and be considered for the same opportunities as white people. So unless those at the top want to make a real, serious change, things may be stuck like this forever.

The ball is rolling now and it will not stop until finally, the media on offer represents the people who are actually watching it.

Lesbian Character to Feature in New Star Wars Novel ‘Lords of the Sith’

The Star Wars universe is a pretty diverse place, slug-like Hutts, to the furry Ewoks and the irritating Gungans.

However, next month it will make franchise’s history, by adding its first official queer character, thanks to the author Paul S Kemp, who is including a lesbian character in his forthcoming Star Wars novel, Lords of the Sith.


Not much is known about the new lady, named Moff Mors, except that she will be a mysterious Imperial character.

A description of the character by Big Shiny Robot says:

“Moff Mors is an Imperial who has made some very serious mistakes but she is an incredibly capable leader and spends much of the book working hard to prevent absolute failure. She also happens to be a lesbian.”

Shelly Shapiro, editor of the Star Wars books, said:

“This is certainly the first character in canon. But there was a gay Mandalorian couple, so it’s not brand new. It’s not something I really think about, it just makes sense. 

There’s a lot of diversity… there should be diversity in ‘Star Wars’. You have all these different species and it would be silly to not also recognize that there’s a lot of diversity in humans. If there’s any message at all, it’s simply that ‘Star Wars’ is as diverse (or more so because they have alien species) as humanity is in real life and we don’t want to pretend it’s not. It just felt perfectly natural.”

Harry Scoble, the Star Wars editor at Century in the UK, said that

“The Star Wars universe has always been incredibly diverse – just look at the number of sentient species that rub shoulders there. Alongside that should be an implicit assumption that sexuality there is diverse as well.

While Moff Mors is the first character in the canon to be explicitly mentioned as being LGBT, this isn’t meant to be a big statement, since there must definitely be others. In the end Star Wars should be as inclusive a world as we aspire to make our own.”

Lords of the Sith, published on 23 April, also sees Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader setting out to personally end a rebellion on the planet Ryloth.

Must Watch | PSA Shares Message Of Acceptance And Diversity

While the vast majority of Americans consider themselves unprejudiced, many of us unintentionally make snap judgments about people based on what we see – whether it’s race, age, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability.

This may be a significant reason many people in the U.S. report they feel discriminated against. Subconscious prejudice – called “implicit bias” – has profound implications for how we view and interact with others who are different from us. It can hinder a person’s ability to find a job, secure a loan, rent an apartment, or get a fair trial, perpetuating disparities in American society.

The Love Has No Labels campaign, which features Mary Lambert’s She Keeps Me Warm, urges viewers to open their eyes to their bias and to celebrate understanding, acceptance and diversity.


The campaign, which the Ad Council launched in partnership with HRC and a group of non-profits and business, works to celebrate inclusion and urges people to examine their implicit biases.

“A lot of us make snap judgments based on what we see—whether it’s race, age, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability. Yet most of us aren’t even conscious of our prejudice. That’s why it’s called implicit bias.”

Check out the PSAs and learn more about the campaign here to help raise awareness to stop bias and prejudice.

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Clarke and Lexa From ‘The 100’ Are Our New Favourite TV Couple

CW’s The 100 answers the hypothetical question of what would humanity do if we were wiped out by a nuclear war. The answer, naturally, is that we’d be forced to live in space on a ship called the Ark and wait until Earth finally became stable’.

Just 97 years into the journey and ‘Council’ has sent a group of 100 young criminals (who’ve been arrested for things as serious as murder or as harsh as being the second born child in your family) down to Earth to see if it’s stable, as oxygen on the ship is running out.

They’ll hit the ground, set up shop and see if it’s safe for everybody else to come down. At least, that’s the plan for smart female lead Clarke Griffin and her rag tag bunch of ‘sky people’.


Things don’t go so well though as they’re forced to deal with the menacing Grounders (survivors of the nuclear war who feel that Clarke and co. are trespassing), Reapers (enemies of the Grounders) and the mysterious Mountain Men who are a different, dangerous force altogether.

There’s also acid dust, mutated animals and the risk of radiation. Yet amongst all this they still find time for love.

The show is racially diverse, stars a female lead and each of its characters are well written, and multidimensional (after all, they are loveable criminals), but it has been overwhelmingly heterosexual.

In the first season alone there are about five different male/female hookups or potential love lines which will probably put you to sleep.

Stick with The 100 though as after over a dozen episodes of Clarke’s men-only love life (season one has just 13 episodes), she finds love with Commander Lexa who is the leader of the Grounders, establishing themselves as one of the few lead queer romances that we see on TV.

Their kiss in the show’s most recent episode was beautiful and treated with the utmost respect – just like all of the other heterosexual love pairings we’d seen on the show. And it’s significant not just for queer fans who’ve been crossing their fingers for canon ‘Clexa’ for a while, but because Clarke is now one of the few queer female lead characters on TV.


The only other example of a queer female lead (who isn’t just part of an ensemble where everybody is ‘sort of’ the main character e.g Pretty Little Liars) is Lost Girl, but that shows ends soon and so Clarke comes at a time where queer women need representation the most.

It’s also incredibly promising that The 100’s producer Jason Rothenberg wrote on Twitter that “In #The100, they don’t label themselves. If Clarke’s attracted to someone, gender isn’t a factor. Some things improve post-apocalypse. Clarke is a bisexual character. Remember that in this society, no one’s worried about it. They’re worried about spears to the chest.”

So the budding Clexa romance has support from the people who make it and massive support from the fans and we can’t wait to see where The 100 takes their romance next.


LGBT Workplace Index Looks to Promote Diversity in Hong Kong

While the topic of marriage equality may get most of the LGBT rights spotlight and while chants of ‘love is love!’ are practically deafening, many have expressed concern, stating that there are many more pressing matters.

One such matter is the topic of workplace equality. Not only do many countries fail to protect their LGBT worked from workplace discrimination, in many countries around the world it is still very much legal for LGBT workers just to be fired because of their identity.

This is an incredibly scary thought for those having to hide their identities for fear of being fired and something needs to be done. Now, the city of Hong Kong is picking up the mantel, introducing something that they call the ‘LGBT Workplace Index’.

Launched by Community Business, an NGO, the idea of the LGBT Workplace Index is to asses how business fair in terms of LGBT inclusivity. The index takes several factors into consideration including advocacy, diversity structure and if (and how) equal opportunities are offered to everybody.

Hong Kong businesses have until February, 2015 to submit entries and the idea is that following the cut off point, awards will be doled out to companies big and small which have done the most. Some awards include LGBT Network of the year, LGBT Inclusion Champion of the Year, and LGBT Executive Sponsor of the Year which will only be given to those with the highest marks.

The LGBT Workplace Index won’t just praise those who are doing well either, as according to LGBT activist Brian Leung it will also be “a great opportunity for LGBTI professionals and allies to get together to drive LGBTI inclusion forward in Asia”. Meanwhile, Community Business CEO Fern Ngai added that this will help “not only LGBTI, but in general a workplace environment that embraces diversity”.

Hopefully, by reassessing the index every two years, companies will have a chance to improve their score. In a 2011/12 LGBT Climate Study, 71% of LGBT employees said that they weren’t open about their sexualities so hopefully measures like this will allow for a more honest, open and inclusive workplace culture.

We Are the Youth – Diversity Of Today’s LGBT Youth

Take a closer look at this stunning photo project, We Are the Youth – that captures the beauty and diversity of today’s LGBT Youth in the United States.

A collaboration between award-winning journalist Diana Scholl and photographer Laurel Golio, We Are the Youth is an ongoing photographic journalism project that chronicles the individual stories of LGBT youth in America.

The duo, who set out to create portraits paired with “as told to” interviews in the individuals own voices. The photos captures diversity and uniqueness among today’s of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth population, with the goal being to addresses the lack of visibility of LGBT young people by providing a space to share stories in an honest and respectful way.

Since its inception in 2010, We Are the Youth has profiled more than 80 young people from all walks of life and from across the United States. Now, what began as a web-based project four years ago is being turned into a stunning new book, released by Space-Made, an alternative media company, in conjunction with Interrupt Magazine. The book will be released the end of June. Pre-order your copy today.

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