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After a record-setting showing last year, overall representation of LGBTQ characters on television has decreased from 637 characters to 596 characters while racial diversity has increased to more than 50 percent of those characters being people of color.
This is according to the 18th edition of Where We Are on TV, a new report from media watchdog group GLAAD that analyzes the number of LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on scripted primetime broadcast, scripted primetime cable and scripted series on the eight major streaming platforms that aired between June 1, 2022, and May 31, 2023.
GLAAD reports that its research found 141 LGBTQ characters on broadcast, 139 on cable and 356 on the streaming services Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Peacock and Paramount+. Numbers are expected to drop for next year’s report as the organization states that 24 percent of LGBTQ characters are on projects that have been canceled or are in the midst of a final season. An additional 35 characters will not return due to being featured on a miniseries or anthology.
“We have seen with shows like The Last of Us, Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy and more that when networks and streamers put their full brand influence into LGBTQ-inclusive shows, our stories are successful critically and commercially,” said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “As the media landscape continues to grow and change, it is imperative that these companies stand behind the excellent LGBTQ storytelling their creative teams are telling, so these series are able to more deeply explore the lives and stories of characters audiences have come to love. With attacks on the LGBTQ community in political and news spaces, Hollywood has more influence than ever and it’s critical the stories they invest in telling include fair and accurate depictions of LGBTQ people that reflect the humanity of our community.”
Of the 596 LGBTQ characters featured on broadcast, cable and streaming, 32 are transgender. This is a decrease of 10 from last year. Of those 32 transgender characters, 16 are trans women, 11 are trans men, and five are trans nonbinary. “At a time when transgender Americans are facing a growing number of dangerous and discriminatory attacks in rhetoric and policy, Hollywood players who are real allies to our community have a responsibility and an opportunity to create stories that humanize trans people and educate viewers about being transgender,” Ellis added.
Other notable findings from the report include bisexual characters, which make up 25 percent, or 149, of the 596 characters. That marks a decrease from last year’s 29 percent. There were eight asexual characters this year, up six from last year, thanks to such shows as Chucky, Big Mouth, Heartbreak High, The Imperfects and The Umbrella Academy. The full report can be found here.
Tuesday, March 21, 9:51 a.m.: Updated to correct the number of LGBTQ characters on broadcast.
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