The Vito Russo test breaks down effective or complex queer representation into three components. The film must have:
* A character who is “identifiably” gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender
* Who is not “solely or predominantly defined” by their sexual or gender identity—that is, it’s not the only thing you know about them
*Whose presence actually has a purpose within the plot of the story.”—
Applying the Vito Russo Test to the number of films released gives an even bleaker picture of the state of GLBTQ representation in Hollywood, as the majority of the films which included queer or genderqueer representation only featured characters for a few seconds, and often purely as the brunt of a gay joke, a source of “gay panic,” or other offensive humor.
Still, there were some bright spots, notably Lionsgate’s Peeples, which presented a positive queer relationship to a predominantly African-American viewership, and Sony’s The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which introduced a fandom favorite in the queer romance of Magnus/Alec, which will hopefully get more screentime as the series continues.
Bad news for queer & genderqueer fans of cinema: Hollywood doesn’t love you back.