Film Forward

LGBTQ Representation On TV Is At An All-Time High, And It’s Getting More Diverse

Some promising news from GLAAD's latest report.

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It's always great to see yourself reflected in pop culture and, at least for LGBTQ representation on TV, things are looking up. This all according to GLAAD, as the organization released its annual "Where We Are on TV" report for the 2018-2019 television season.

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The results of the study show that there's an all-time high of LGBTQ series regulars on all platforms — particularly broadcast. A total of 8.8 percent of all main characters there identify as LGBTQ, up from what was an all-time high last year at 6.4 percent. It breaks down to there being 75 LGBTQ main characters out of 857 total characters. As mentioned, there were also gains on both cable and streaming (Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix) as well.

"With anti-LGBTQ policies being debated here and abroad, the stories and characters on television are more critical than ever before to build understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ people," Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, said. "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 … and demonstrate that audiences are hungry for new stories and perspectives."

Perhaps the biggest thing to take note of, at least in terms of broadcast, is that — for the first time ever — LGBTQ characters of color outnumber White LGBTQ characters. In this regard, cable and streaming services are lacking behind, though they admittedly aren't too far behind. Broadcast also boasts having achieved gender parity, as characters who identify as male and characters who identify as female are an even split at 49.6 percent each. Making up the difference is a sole nonbinary character.

There are some shows to take note of in terms of their LGBTQ representation. There's FX's Pose, which boasted the largest cast of transgender performers ever; The CW's Supergirl, which is poised to give us our first transgender superhero; and Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which boasts a pansexual character.

Perhaps the most important place where there's more work to be done lies in terms of the representation of LGBTQ characters with disabilities. Though an estimated one-third of LGBTQ individuals identify as having a disability of some kind, those visible, as well as non-apparent, make up just 2.1 percent of characters that fit this description.

There's always work to do, but these findings — including those not mentioned here — show just how much TV is embracing the LGBTQ experience.

(H/T: Deadline | Variety | TVLine)

Cover image: JoJo Whilden / FX

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