Study: LBGT Characters on TV at All-Time High

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As the fall television season gets underway, there is currently a record number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) characters on television, according to a media report conducted by advocacy organization GLAAD.

GLAAD’s “Where We Are on TV” report, published Thursday, found that the 2016–17 season saw the highest LGBTQ representation on television of all time. A record 43 of the total 895 regular characters on broadcast television are either gay, lesbian, or bisexual, the report said.

The gay rights organization did warn, however, that there still exists a persistent tendency for television shows to kill off its LBGTQ characters.

“Most of these deaths served no other purpose than to further the narrative of a more central (and often straight, cisgender) character,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis wrote in the study. “When there are so few lesbian and bisexual women on television, the decision to kill these characters in droves sends a toxic message about the worth of queer female stories.”

Still, LGBTQ representation is seeing steady increases on cable and streaming service network including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. There were 142 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters on cable for the  2016–17 season and 65 across the major streaming networks.

“While it is heartening to see progress being made in LGBTQ representation on television, it’s important to remember that numbers are only part of the story, and we must continue the push for more diverse and intricate portrayals of the LGBTQ community,” Ellis said in a press release statement celebrating the progress. “GLAAD will continue to work with Hollywood to tell nuanced LGBTQ stories that accelerate acceptance — and hold the networks, streaming services, and content creators accountable for the images and storylines they present.”


Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson