Do you feel represented by what’s on TV?

Entertainment experts MrQ has analysed the most popular and best-selling film franchises, TV shows, video games, and novels to find out how LGBTQ+ inclusive they are, and what more needs to be done in the industry to improve representation.

Entertainment is one of the most influential industries in the world, reaching billions of people across the planet via film, TV, gaming, and books. With this comes responsibility for the sector to ensure all communities and groups are being represented fairly.

With an increasing focus on the need for more attention in communities such as LGBTQ+, how representative really are the most popular forms of entertainment that we all know and love?

Analysing the most popular films, TV series and games, and the best-selling novels, the research reveals how many LGBTQ+ characters there are compared to total characters, which streaming platforms are the most inclusive, and what the most popular and best rated LGBTQ+ forms of entertainment there are over the last decade.

The average % of LGBTQ+ characters in the most popular films, TV, novels and video games are: 

Media typeAverage representation
Film Franchises0.1%
TV0.8%
Novels1%
Video games1.9%

When it comes to the most popular and successful films, TV shows, video games and novels of all time, LGBTQ+ representation is disappointingly low, with all types of entertainment having an average inclusion of below 2%. 

Of the 40 forms of entertainment analysed, almost 50% (19) had an LGBTQ+ character, however, this drops to just 25% when it comes to the number with an LGBTQ+ protagonist. 

The most inclusive popular film, TV show, video game and novel are:

Media typeTitleNo. of LGBTQ+ characters% of total characters
Film FranchiseX-Men40.48%
TVRick and Morty132.67%
Video gamesSuper Mario Galaxy2416.67%
NovelsThe Girl With The Dragon Tattoo15%

The gaming sector is the most inclusive with 1.9% of its characters identifying as LGBTQ+, with Super Mario Galaxy taking the top spot with 17% of its characters sitting within the LGBTQ+ community. Research reveals that Super Mario’s Toads are agender. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 includes character Leo Baker who identifies as trans and non-binary, with the game having an overall LGBTQ+ representation of 5%, followed by Grand Theft Auto IV with 4%. 

Film franchises we all know and love sit as the least inclusive with an average of 0.1% of its characters identifying as LGBTQ+. Whilst Marvel, Star Wars, James Bond, DC and X-Men, and Spider-Man all have a small handful of LGBTQ+ characters, the likes of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Fast and Furious and Jurassic Park have a 0% representation.

TV shows such including Rick and Morty, The Boys, Mr. Robot and The Walking Dead all lead the way for LGBTQ+ inclusivity with at least four or more characters identifying themselves within this community. Rick and Morty have 13 LGBTQ+ characters out of its total 486 casts, including Father Bob who identifies as gay, and Rick, whose voice has been clarified by his voice actor as pansexual. The immensely popular Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are the only two shows with 0% representation.

From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to Twilight, the highest selling novels are unfortunately the least inclusive, with the former having 0% LGBTQ+ inclusion, alongside The Da Vinci Code and Fifty Shades of Grey.

Amazon Prime has more LGBTQ+ representative content than Netflix

From Ru Paul’s Drag Race to Glee, the last decade has seen an incredible rise in iconic known and loved LGBTQ+ inclusive TV shows, documentaries and films that we can access easily using the world’s most popular streaming platforms Netflix and Amazon Prime. 

Amazon Prime takes the lead as the more inclusive streaming platform with 8% of its media being LGBTQ+ inclusive. This is compared to just 6% of Netflix’s media being LGBTQ+ inclusive. Whilst Amazon Prime is more inclusive, it’s key for both platforms to continue building up their LGBTQ+ inclusive content for viewers.

The best-rated entertainment for LGBTQ+ inclusivity to watch out for this year

With It’s a Sin gaining huge popularity this year, the analysis also finds out the most popular and highest-rated films, shows, and games that are LGBTQ+ inclusive. In the film sector, the film to watch out for this year is Sentinelle, whilst 2020 saw The Boy Foretold by the Stars and iconic film/documentaries Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody the previous years. For TV, the best-rated LGBTQ+ inclusive shows have included It’s a Sin, The Queen’s Gambit, The Boys, and Killing Eve. And finally for video game fans, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, Hades, and Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is the best rated LGBTQ+ inclusive games of the last three years.

Savvas Fellas, managing director of MrQ, said:

‘The entertainment industry is one of the most influential in the world, as it delivers messages to billions of us across the globe whilst in the comfort of our own home each day. It is absolutely crucial that the industry drives for more LGBTQ+ representation in its characters to promote awareness and encourage inclusivity. 

Whilst it’s great to see the number of LGBTQ+ representative forms of entertainment rise in the last decade, there is more work to be done in making this the norm.’

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