LGBTQ+ Representation in Cinema: Hollywood vs Indie


Representation in Hollywood Cinema is and has always been a reoccurring issue. Despite the pace at which society is advancing in terms of identity acceptance, Hollywood Cinema is somewhat behind. Indie Cinema (Independent) however, seems to be doing a way better job. A few of my research questions are: Why does Hollywood lack proper representation of the LGBTQ+ community? Is there a such thing as proper representation? What are the reasons representation is such an issue? Is it the audiences of America or are producers and directors playing the movie business safe by respecting older values?

My project will identify the different ways in which LGBTQ+ representation in cinema over the last 30-40 years as that’s about the same time that the LGBTQ+ movement has become one of the most powerful movements in the United States. The scope of my project is limited to about 50 films with plans to expand. By the end of the summer I need to have at least 35 films included into my research, but my ultimate goal is to get 50 included. This includes films that are both Hollywood produced and independently produced. I want this project to be something that identifies some of the problems with the film industry, but I also want people to be able to use my project as a way of finding films that have LGBTQ+ representation in them, so that they can judge the film’s approach at representation for themselves while also being able to express what they think and respond and share. This has the possibility for growth if the proper seed is planted and people are actually interested. So far I haven’t found any projects that really discuss representation using digital tools, but I have found projects that gather films for preservation and restoration. I can build upon these projects by starting an actual conversation about them; even if that conversation is one that’s central to Bucknell. With digital tools I will be able to identify key parts of screenplays (as they’re available), significant moments in the motion picture, as well as the audience’s response to the film (again, as they’re available). Some of the issues I can see myself running into with this project are copyright issues since I am using films in my project, but fair use might help me out since I would only be using portions of the films for educational purposes and for non commercial use and with proper credit given. Jason Snyder was a huge help in helping me figure out if the project I had in mind before was actually feasible and if it was doing anything that John Hunter’s database or the Library Catalog was already doing. Instead of creating a place for people to find LGBTQ films, I’d rather help people start a conversation while being able to see actual data from the film to reference. “Show me the data.”

Over the next six weeks I plan to analyze and gather data on whatever films I can find that have some sort of representation of LGBTQ+ people; whether it’s negative or positive. Within the next four weeks I hope to have a site designed that will allow people to easily access all of the data used and exchange information using something such as a comment section that people would be able to use.

As I said before, I want this project to be fueled by conversation after the data is gathered and presented. I don’t know if I’ll keep this going after I graduate, but it would be fantastic if the LGBTQ+ office on campus wanted to get involved after it’s done.



  • Week 3
    • Develop a clear list of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender films
      • Budget, release date, profit, number of screens
    • Organize them by decade
    • Talk to Glynnis, Erica, Rebecca, Ken
    • Find as many screenplays as possible
    • Develop Scalar site
      • Timeline
      • Discussion
  • Week 4
    • Voyant analysis
    • Analysis of films using John Hunter’s method + ELAN
    • Continue scalar site development
  • Week 5
    • Continued analysis of films (screenplays and motion picture)
    • Continued development of site
    • Start loading films onto site
  • Week 6
    • Complete analysis of films
    • Complete development of site
  • Week 7 + 8
    • Final edits
    • Conclusions