GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has published their 3rd annual Where Are We On TV report, which looks at the representation of the LGBTQ community on television and this year the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and queer characters on TV hit an all-time high.
The 2018-19 TV season’s LGBTQ representation is said to be 8.8%, which is equal to 75 of 859 series regular roles. This is up from last season’s 28. The CW has the most with 16%, followed by FOX (11%), NBC (7.7), ABC (5.8) and CBS (3.4, the only broadcast channel to drop year by year). Cable TV went from 103 to 120 series regular LGBTQ characters, with another 88 recurring. FX leads with 23, followed by Freeform (21), Showtime (21) and TNT (21). Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have 75 characters with 37 recurring, 60% higher than last year.
Highlights of the report are down below
- Of the 857 regular characters expected to appear on broadcast scripted primetime programming this season, 75 (8.8%) were identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer. This is the highest percentage GLAAD has found in the fourteen years this report has counted all broadcast series regulars. There were an additional 38 recurring LGBTQ characters.
- The number of regular LGBTQ characters counted on scripted primetime cable increased to 120, while recurring characters increased to 88, making for 208 characters.
- There were 75 LGBTQ regular characters counted in original scripted series on the streaming services Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix as well as 37 recurring characters, for a total of 112 LGBTQ characters.
- Bisexual+ characters make up 27 percent of the LGBTQ characters tracked across all platforms (broadcast, cable, streaming originals), a slight decrease in percentage from last year, but up to 117 characters from 93 in the previous report. The numbers still skew toward women, though there was an increase in bi+ men this year (84 women to 33 men).
- This year, there are 26 regular and recurring transgender characters tracked across all three platforms, up from 17 last year. Of those, 17 are trans women, five are trans men, and four are non-binary characters.
- Racial diversity of LGBTQ characters is up significantly on all three platforms tracked. For the first time, LGBTQ characters of color outnumber white LGBTQ characters on broadcast television, 50 percent to 49 percent. 44 percent of all series regulars on broadcast scripted television are people of color, a four percent increase from the previous report.
- Last year was GLAAD’s first inclusion of asexual characters in our annual count. Both characters (Raphael Santiago on Freeform’s Shadowhunters, Todd Chavez on Netflix’s BoJack Horseman) have returned from the previous year, but no additional asexual characters have been added. There still no ace characters on broadcast.
- Only 43 percent of the regular characters counted on broadcast primetime television are women, the same percentage as last year and a severe underrepresentation of the U.S. population, which is estimated to be 51 percent women.
- The amount of regular primetime broadcast characters counted who have a disability has slightly increased to 2.1 percent, but that number still vastly underrepresents the actualities of Americans with disabilities. There are seven characters across all three platforms tracked (broadcast, cable, streaming) who are HIV-positive, a substantial increase from last year’s two.
- Netflix counts the highest number of LGBTQ characters on all streaming services and FX counts the highest number on cable networks. The CW boasts the highest percentage of LGBTQ series regular characters of the five broadcast networks.
Back in May, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis called for the major studios to include LGBTQ characters in 20 percent of their releases by 2021 and in 50 percent of their films by 2024.