GLAAD Releases Its TV Report Card. Some Networks Not Going to Denny’s For Sundaes.

Each year since 2007, GLAAD has filed a Network Responsibility Index, a report card of sorts, examining how major television channels are doing with the quantity and quality of images of LGBT people.

Granted, it’s not an exact science—what’s considered a “positive” representation is open to interpretation. Take Lafayette and Jesus on True Blood. Some might say a short-order cook/drug dealer and his witch boyfriend don’t make good role models. But considering their friends are fairies, vampires, shapeshifters and (possibly) werepanthers, its a sliding scale.

And admittedly, GLAAD’s sampling seems random: Boutique channels like A&E and ABC Family get vetted, but major networks like Bravo, MTV and Comedy Central aren’t. And maybe GLAAD could show some balls and give Logo a thorough examination for how its representing the rainbow. (Granted, in a different study.)

Still, the report is interesting reading—especially if you haven’t kept up on what’s airing on the boob tube these days. The full study, made available today, can be found here.

Some findings include:

The Good News

  • Lots of shows with major queer storylines, characters and themes are critical and commercial success. And a number are Emmy nominees or winners—like Modern Family, True Blood and Glee.
  • There are more LGBTs of color on the airwaves, on shows like True Blood, The Good Wife and Grey’s Anatomy.
  • There’s been an uptick of gay representations on shows and networks aimed at youth. ABC Family received GLAAD’s “Excellent” rating for its good work on shows like Greek, Kyle XY and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. “We’re proud of our programming and grateful for the recognition,” says ABC Family president Michael Riley.  “We strive to reflect the rich diversity of our audience and the world around us, including the LGBT community, through strong characters and engaging, authentic storytelling.  [This is] a validation of our programming’s positive impact.”

The Bad News

  • Trans people got the short end of the stick, representing only 1% of all LGBT people, real or fictional, represented on television.
  • Though it went from “Failing”  last year to “Adequate” this one, CBS gets a strong rap across the knuckles for having no regular LGBT characters it any series and, when we do make appearances, for generally portraying us as punchlines or victims. Yeah, that’s why we never laughed during an episode of Two & A Half Men.
  • Along with TBS, A&E got a Failing grade. Basically it’s only queer cred comes from the fact that the host of Paranormal State, Ryan Buell (above), came out as bisexual. A guy who runs around in empty prisons talking about ghosts sometimes sleeps with dudes. Yay!

Do you have something to say about LGBT representations on television? Tell us in the comments. And there will be a test!


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  • lookyloo

    “Trans people got the short end of the stick, representing only 1% of all LGBT people, real or fictional, represented on television.”

    What’s the percentage in real life?
    I kinda think it wouldn’t be very much. Perhaps 1% is about right..?

  • doomsday1038

    I would like to see more black gay people on tv.

  • Daez

    Ryan made me wish I was a ghost before I knew he went bi. Now I want to meet him more than ever.

  • Thomas

    Applaud, condemn. Applaud, condemn.

    GLAAD is nauseating.

  • Anonymous

    @lookyloo: That’s not 1% of the total of everything, that’s 1% of the total LGBT programming, which they explain works out as 0.002% of the total.

  • JAW

    How could they leave out Home and garden TV… The entire channel/network is GAY. They have REAL Gay people as both Hosts and subjects of the show. The shows show us as we really are… They show that we do not spend our entire life at bars, the beach gay pride parades etc… They show that we are not always Drama Queens… They show that we are just like them.

    I do not know of one show on H&G TV (aka: Homo&Gay TV) That does not show us in the best sense of all. They have couples, both Gay and Lesbian, looking for homes and not as roommates

    On the remodel shows they show and talk about Master suites with one say he wanted this, and the other saying he wanted that.

    Hell even a commercial that they ran 5 years ago was gay… A straight couple sitting on the sofa watching TV had the husband saying in shock… “you mean that they are not brothers”… and the wife just smiled… I laughed at that each time I saw it.

    AND the HOSTS… Does it get much Gayer then all those Hot guys… And perhaps The ladies know who the Lesbian Hosts are.

    I LOVE H&G TV!!

  • Tony

    I agree with JAW the Scripps Networks (HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, GAC) should get some love from GLAAD.

    They’re always gay friendly and positive. And this from networks headquartered in Knoxville, TN.

  • Alex

    I would love to see how they rate LOGO. That channel is BET for gay people. Exploitation with no to no entertainment value.

  • Kirk212

    LOGA would fail miserably – all it does is promote bad sterotypes.

  • Kirk212

    sorry for the typos…

  • JAW

    I do not see the connection… perhaps post it in the thread about the increase in HIV+ men… esp men of color. The younger generation is not getting the message, even though the message is out there in their face.

    GLAAD is working with the mainstream media… media that is available to the general population.

  • bluechip244

    CBS has a gay character on “The Good Wife”< so if a study is going to have credence, it needs to be acccurate

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