LGBTQ TV Regulars At All-Time High!

Image via FX

This year’s GLAAD “Where We Are On TV” report is out, and things are looking more hopeful than ever before.

Every year, GLAAD releases this report to show where we stand in terms of LGBTQ representation on the small screen. For the 2019-2020 season, it appears that representation is higher than ever before. LGBTQ characters make up 10.2% or 90 out of 879 series regulars on broadcast scripted primetime TV.

But that’s not all, LGBTQ women are on the rise as well. LGTBQ female characters in series regular or recurring roles outnumber LGBTQ men on broadcast tv. This 53% to 47% matchup is the first of its kind, where women are in more quantity, since GLAAD started tracking LGBTQ representation 24 years ago.

“Last year, GLAAD called on the television industry to increase the number of LGBTQ characters and more accurately reflect the world we live in, and they responded by exceeding this challenge,” said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. “At a time when the cultural climate is growing increasingly divisive, increased representation of LGBTQ stories and characters on television is especially critical to advance LGBTQ acceptance. Shows like ‘Pose,’ ‘Schitt’s Creek,’ ‘Batwoman,’ and ‘Billions’ demonstrate that not only are LGBTQ stories and characters on TV becoming more diverse, but that viewers everywhere continue to respond with extreme positivity.”

The First Look photo of Ruby Rose as the CW’s Batwoman / Image via the CW

But the stats don’t just end there. More information from this television season show that transgender characters, bisexual characters, and characters living with HIV/AIDS are also increasing on television.

As for people of color, the numbers are a little more complicated. Representation for LGBTQ people of color is on the rise on broadcast and cable tv, but it has decreased on streaming. Specifically, 52% of the 120 LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on broadcast networks are people of color, and 48% of the 215 LGBTQ characters on cable TV are people of color. But while those two markets have seen a two percent increase since the past year, there’s been a seven percent decrease to 41% of the 153 LGBTQ characters on services like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix.

That said, Netflix has the highest number of LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on streaming’s scripted original programming. In addition, combining its LGBTQ characters with Amazon and Hulu shows 34 more regular LGTBQ characters (109 overall) and 7 more recurring LGBTQ characters (44 overall) since last year.

“This year’s Where We Are on TV study found great progress towards a more LGBTQ-inclusive television landscape, and highlighted welcome increases of transgender men and queer women in upcoming programing,” said Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s director of entertainment research and analysis. “However, it is also important to note that there is still work to be done. On cable TV, just three networks account for 44 percent of all LGBTQ representation on primetime scripted series. Similarly, programming from four dedicated producers and creators who prioritize inclusion, Greg Berlanti, Lena Waithe, Ryan Murphy, and Shonda Rhimes, accounts for 14 percent of total LGBTQ characters across broadcast, cable, and streaming originals. We hope to see all networks follow their lead, and work towards reflecting the reality of their audience and the culture.” 

Source: GLAAD, Variety, Hollywood Reporter

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