NATIONAL NEWS: GLADD Study Shows Major Drop in LGBT Diversity in Films

Plus: FDA spends $36 million to curb LGBTQ smoking.

Transgender biopic The Danish Girl.

Transgender biopic “The Danish Girl.”

Only 25.5 percent of the LGBT characters portrayed in films from seven major studios this year are of color.

While Hollywood’s racial diversity issues have become a major topic of discussion, the problems appear to be even deeper when it comes to LGBTQ diversity. According to a new report released on Monday by GLADD, the racial diversity of LGBT characters has fallen noticeably. Overall, 17.5 percent of last year’s films from the seven major Hollywood studios contained characters who were lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. However, only 25.5 percent of those characters were of color; the previous year’s percentage was 32.1 percent. “Hollywood’s films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters,” GLADD president and CEO Sarah Ellis said in the report. “The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.” The organization says the industry “must do better to include LGBT characters in roles directly tied to plot and which reflect the wide diversity of our community, including people of color, those living with disabilities, and a variety of geographical and ideological backgrounds.”

The FDA plans to target the 40 percent of 2 million LGBT young adults in America who occasionally smoke.

The Food and Drug Administration’s latest anti-smoking campaign is geared toward changing the habits of young LGBTQ adults, who have been found to be nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as their straight peers. Called “This Free Life,” the campaign is an $35.7 million effort involving print, digital, and outdoor advertising targeting LGBT young adults ages 18 to 24. “[The federal campaign] is designed to challenge the perception that tobacco use is a necessary part of LGBT culture,” said Richard Wolitski, an official with the Department of Health and Human Services. According to FDA officials, the “coming out” process and tobacco usage by prominent gay celebrities are considered major contributing factors in the higher smoking rate in the LGBT community.