Broadcast TV Hits Record Percentage of LGBTQ Regulars, Study Finds


For the first time in the history of GLAAD’s ‘Where We Are on TV’ report, LGBTQ characters of color also outnumber those that are white.

Broadcast television is enlisting a record percentage of LGBTQ characters and featuring those of color more often than those that are white for the first time in the 2018-19 television season, a report published Thursday found.

GLAAD’s annual Where We Are on TV report found that LGBTQ characters make up 8.8 percent of all regular characters this season, up 2.4 percent from the 2017-18 season. (Last season had previously held the record for largest percentage in the report’s 23-year history.)

Among those characters, 22 percent are black, 8 percent Latino and 8 percent Asian Pacific Islander, which represents a historical high for black characters and a tie with last year’s findings on Latino characters. LGBTQ broadcast characters have additionally reached gender parity, with women and men both accounting for 49.6 percent of characters; last year, men were in the clear majority, making up 55 percent of characters and women 44 percent.

Overall, LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on broadcast are posting a 31 percent increase from the 2017-18 season. Meanwhile, on primetime cable shows, the report found that LGBTQ characters have increased 20 percent, from 173 to 208 characters. On Netflix, Hulu and Amazon — the streaming platforms monitored by GLAAD — these characters have increased 72 percent from the previous year, jumping from 65 characters to 112.

“Amid one of the most tumultuous times that LGBTQ Americans have ever faced, what happens on our television screens is now more critical than ever before to accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ people,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement about the report. “Not only do stories that explore the rich lives and identities of LGBTQ people move the needle forward culturally, but they pay off in ratings — shows like Will & Grace, Supergirl, Empire and How to Get Away With Murder all attract millions of viewers weekly and show that audiences are clearly hungry for new stories and perspectives.”

The report additionally found that across all platforms, the number of bisexual+ characters has increased nearly 26 percent (from 93 to 117 characters), transgender characters have increased 53 percent (from 17 to 26) and HIV-positive characters have increased 350 percent (from two characters to seven) from the previous year.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter