05/20/2013 03:25 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

The Gay Bechdel Test: Why Hollywood Needs To Expand Its Representation Of LGBT Characters

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For years, I’ve enjoyed putting popular films through the Bechdel Test. Named after cartoonist Alison Bechdel, the test was introduced in her long-running comic Dykes to Watch Out For. Named “The Rule,” what became known as the Bechdel Test had three requirements: a film had to feature two named female characters, those characters had to speak to each other, and the subject of conversation had to be about something other than a man. Sounds pretty simple, right? It’s pretty astonishing how many movies fail the pretty easy test — especially in 2013. (A website that keeps track of movie releases and whether they pass the test already lists at least 38 films from 2013; only 21 pass the Bechdel test.) It got me thinking: could there be a similar test about gay characters, and how many movies would actually pass it?

The Gay Test (which, regrettably, I will not call “The Coates Test” following Alison Bechdel’s lead), would have similarly few requirements, but they’re particularly tough to beat: to pass, a film must include two gay characters who interact in some way, do not offer sassy advice to the protagonist, and are not dead by the end credits. While the main plot of any film subjected to the test preferably would not be specifically “gay-themed,” I’ll allow it, if only because films described as such are pretty much the only ones that come close to passing.

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