As reported by The Wrap, the percentage of LGBTQ series regular characters on broadcast television has hit an all-time high, according to GLAAD’s annual “Where We Are on TV” report, released Thursday.
“After GLAAD last year called on the television industry to reach 10 percent LGBTQ inclusion among broadcast series regular characters on primetime scripted series by 2020, the 2019-2020 Where We Are on TV report found that networks met and exceeded this call in just one year, with a record-high percentage of LGBTQ series regulars on broadcast television at 10.2% of all series regulars,” the advocacy organization said. “This is up from last year’s 8.8% (another record-high), and the highest GLAAD has found since the organization expanded to count all broadcast series regulars 15 years ago. Also, for the first time in this report’s history, LGBTQ regular and recurring women on broadcast outnumber LGBTQ men. Of the LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on broadcast, 53 percent are women, and 47 percent are men.”
- Of the 879 regular characters expected to appear on broadcast scripted primetime programming this season, 90 (10.2%) were identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer. This is the highest percentage GLAAD has found in the fifteen years this report has counted all broadcast series regulars. There were an additional 30 recurring LGBTQ characters.
- The number of regular LGBTQ characters counted on scripted primetime cable increased to 121, while recurring characters increased to 94, making for 215 characters.
- There were 109 LGBTQ regular characters counted in original scripted series on the streaming services Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix as well as 44 recurring characters, for a total of 153 LGBTQ characters.
- Bisexual+ characters make up 26 percent of the LGBTQ characters tracked across all platforms (broadcast, cable, streaming originals), a slight decrease in percentage from last year, but up to 128 characters from 117 in the previous report. The numbers still skew toward women, though there was an increase in bi+ men this year (90 women, 36 men, and two non-binary characters).
- This year, there are 38 regular and recurring transgender characters tracked across all three platforms, up from 26 last year. Of those, 21 are trans women, 12 are trans men, and five are non-binary characters.
- Racial diversity of LGBTQ characters increased on broadcast and cable, but decreased on streaming originals. For the second year in a row, LGBTQ characters of color outnumber white LGBTQ characters on broadcast television, 52 percent to 48 percent. 47 percent of all series regulars on broadcast scripted television are people of color, a three percent increase from the previous report and a record-high.
- Only one asexual character was counted in this report, Todd Chavez on Netflix’s BoJack Horseman. No additional asexual characters have been added, and BoJack Horseman is set to air its final episodes in this reporting period.
- Broadcast hit another record high with 46 percent of series regular characters counted on broadcast scripted primetime television being women, a three point increase from the previous year. This still underrepresents that women are estimated to be 51 percent of the U.S. population.
- The amount of regular primetime broadcast characters counted who have a disability has increased to 3.1 percent, which is a record-high percentage but that number still vastly underrepresents the actualities of Americans with disabilities. There are nine characters across all three platforms tracked (broadcast, cable, streaming) who are HIV-positive.
- Netflix counts the highest number of LGBTQ characters on all streaming services, and Showtime counts the highest number on cable networks. The CW boasts the highest percentage of LGBTQ series regular characters of the five broadcast networks.
Last 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.