GLAAD Report Hails a New High in LGBTQ Representation on Television

Ruby Rose as Kate Kane  Batwoman in a scene from the CW series Batwoman.”

Ruby Rose as Kate Kane Batwoman in a scene from the CW series Batwoman.”

The new numbers come after past year when GLAAD made a call to action to the TV industry to reach 10 percent LGBTQ inclusion among broadcast series regular characters on primetime scripted series by 2020.

That number marks 90 series regulars out of 879 across 111 primetime scripted shows. The 2019-2020 report found that networks met and exceeded this call in just one year with its record-high percentage of LGBTQ series regulars on broadcast television at 10.2 percent of all series regulars, which bested last year's record high of 8.8 percent.

Another record-high percentage was with Latinx series regulars, which was up to 9 percent from 8 percent. "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".

Not only are there more LGBTQ series regulars than ever before, there has been a significant increase in the racial diversity of LGBTQ characters on broadcast and cable. And it stands as a new record high in the 24 years that GLAAD has tracked LGBTQ representation on the small screen. When it came to the Big Three streaming services Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, there were 109 LGBTQ regular characters.

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"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. On top of that, for the first time in the report's 24-year history, LGBTQ regular and recurring women on broadcast outnumber LGBTQ men 53 percent to 47 percent - nearly reaching gender parity.

With 15.4 per cent of series regulars counted as LGBTQ, the CW ranks as the most inclusive of the USA broadcast networks, thanks in part to its slate of Arrow-verse shows. FX follows with 31 regular and recurring characters, which is an uptick from last year's 23 characters, and Freeform follows with 26 LGBTQ regular and recurring characters. As of this season, 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, both marking an increase of two percentage points from the prior-year figures. 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. Of those platforms, Netflix features the most LGBTQ characters at 121.

Across all TV platforms, there were increases in the number of trans characters and those with HIV-AIDS over past year. Out of The CW's series regular characters, 15.4% are LGBTQ. Showtime offers the most representation of the cable networks, with 38 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters - a number owed mostly to the upcoming debut ofThe L Word: Generation Q, though it also includes characters from Billions, The Chi, Kidding,The Affair, Black Monday,Ray Donovan, and Shameless.

Of the 120 LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on broadcast, 62 (or 52 per cent ) are people of colour, which is a 2 per cent increase from previous year.

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