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    2023 Studio Responsibility Index

    The Vito Russo Test

    Taking inspiration from the Bechdel Test, which examines the way women characters are portrayed and situated within a narrative, GLAAD developed its own set of criteria to analyze how LGBTQ characters are included in a film. The Vito Russo Test gets its name from celebrated film historian and GLAAD co-founder Vito Russo, whose book The Celluloid Closet remains the bedrock for analysis of early LGBTQ portrayals in Hollywood film. These criteria can help filmmakers create more multidimensional characters while providing a barometer for LGBTQ film representation.

    This test remains an evaluation of the minimal representation expected,and also provides a roadmap for a greater number of mainstream Hollywood films to reach and ultimately exceed. Passing the Vito Russo Test is a first step, rather than the finish line.

    For a film to pass the Vito Russo Test, the following must be true:

    1 The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer.

    2 That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity (i.e. they are comprised of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight/cisgender characters from one another).

    3 The LGBTQ character must be tied to the plot in such a way that the character’s removal would have a significant effect, meaning the character is not there to simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or set up a punchline. The character must matter.

    4 The LGBTQ character’s story must not be outwardly offensive (avoids defaulting to well-known tropes or stereotypes with no further development). In films with multiple LGBTQ characters, at least one character must pass this point for the film to pass the test.

    % of LGBTQ-inclusive films that passed the Vito Russo Test, by Year



    77% (77 OF 100) OR 22% OF 350 TOTAL FILMS


    56% (9 OF 16) OR 12% OF 77 TOTAL FILMS


    90% (9 OF 10) OR 20% OF 44 TOTAL FILMS


    73% (16 OF 22) OR 14% OF 118 TOTAL FILMS


    65% (13 OF 20) OR 12% OF 110 TOTAL FILMS


    64% (9 OF 14) OR 8% OF 109 TOTAL FILMS


    39% (9 OF 23) OR 7% OF 125 TOTAL FILMS



    36% (8 OF 22) OR 6% OF 126 TOTAL FILMS


    55% (11 OF 20) OR 10% OF 114 TOTAL FILMS


    41% (7 OF 17) OR 7% OF 102 TOTAL FILMS


    43% (6 OF 14) OR 6% OF 101 TOTAL FILMS

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