GLAAD Report Finds Diversity Lacking In LGBT Representations on TV

GLAAD’s sixth annual Network Responsibility Index, which “maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people on primetime broadcast and cable TV,” finds the “quality” and “quantity” all right enough but the “diversity” leaves a bit to be desired.

According to the report, 69% of LGBT impressions on broadcast networks were made by gay men and 66% were made by white people. While transgender people are barely represented on broadcast networks — only a .01% impression — they are virtually nonexistent on cable with a measly .005%

The number of LGBT characters on broadcast TV dipped slightly, though The CW and CBS retain their positions at the top and bottom of the list, respectively. The CW received a “Good” rating with 29% of its primetime programming being LGBT inclusive, a drop from 33% last year.  The CW also had the most racial diversity among LGBT characters with 62% of impressions made by people of color. CBS on the other hand went from an “Adequate” score to a “Failing” — its LGBT impressions dropped from 10% last season to 8% this season.

On the cable front, Showtime clocked the most LGBT impressions with 46%, followed by ABC Family — talk about “family viewing time” — and TNT at 34% and HBO at 33%. MTV (23%) went from an “Excellent” score two years ago to an “Adequate” this time around, while both TBS (5%) and The History Channel (3%) received “Failing” scores.

“Americans expect to see their off-screen worlds represented onscreen and today more than ever that includes LGBT people and families,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick in a statement. “Storylines of families like Mitchell and Cameron on Modern Family and young people like Emily on Pretty Little Liars are not only growing acceptance of our community, but have found praise from viewers and critics alike at a time when visibility and acceptance of LGBT people is at an all-time high.

“Including an ethnically diverse cast of characters will not only be a more accurate reflection of the LGBT community but will also give programs the opportunity to build authentic and complex storylines.””

You can read the full report here.


Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #entertainment #diversity #glaad(gayandlesbianallianceagainstdefamation) stories and more


  • MikeE

    I’m not sure that 66% is such a bad number regarding white LGBT characters, since white people make up 72% of the population to start with.

    I’m rather surprised by the 69% being gay men stat. I seem to notice far more lesbian characters on the TV shows that I watch than gay males. SO I guess I’m just watching the wrong shows!

    as for transgender people, they represent .3% of the population, so yes, the number is very low in television representation, but that COULD be because of the already low visibility of transgender people in everyday life. statistically speaking, you are more than ten times more likely to meet a gay person in your everyday life than a transgender person.

  • Brandon

    @MikeE: The racial diversity is a bit of a bad number. When you think about where most prime time television are set, or meant to appear as being set, that number is way off. Every major city in the US has way larger minority populations than 66% suggests.

    Los Angeles has only 29.4 percent non-hispanic whites. 50% if you count Hispanics identifying as white (bi-racial to some degree, but identifying as white).

    New York is only 44% white. Over half of New York is either black,hispanic and Asian.

    Chicago is even less, 31% white, 32%black, 30% hispanic of any race.

    Yet if you look at tv, the vast majority in the most visible and popular shows are white males.

    It’s no wonder many gays of color don’t feel a part of the gay community, they rarely see themselves. Not even in gay rights organizations is the representation any better.

  • MikeE

    @Brandon: the number of people living in alrge urban centers isn’t that large a proportion of the entire country.
    you are living a blinkered lie.

    just taking the population of the 10 largest cities in the states, it makes for a total of around 25 million people.

    even if you double that, to take into account outlying areas of those metropolitan centers, you still get only 50 million people.

    EVERY other city in the states has less than a million people, with the number dropping to half a million very rapidly.

    That STILL leaves 300 million people who DON’T live in L.A, or New York, or Chicago, or any of the other top 10 population cities in the U.S.

    And trust me, people who don’t live in big cities watch JUST as much TV if not more than in large cities.

    So urban centers being more ethnic in NO way affects the very simple fact that ethnic minorities are exactly that: minorities.

    And if you look at those numbers, the proportion of white people on TV doesn’t even match the overall population percentage.

  • Papi Balenciaga

    @Brandon: I agree with you. It’s not like LGBT people of color are not fighting tooth and nail for the same equality white LGBT people are fighing for. If we are in this chit together then why not showcase all of us and not make some feel as though we are only needed to help fight the battle then fade into the background. Whenever I can I try and show younger LGBT people of color that there are PEOPLE like them in the world, they may not see it on T.V. but we do exist.

  • jeff4justice

    Earn that 6-figure ED salary.

    Anyway many of the depictions of LGBTS are recycled versions of the helpless wimpy victimized gay guy or the trendy airhead gay. Over it.

  • Brandon

    @MikeE: The part of my argument that you are missing is that Almost all of the most popular shows are taking place in one of the 6 or so of the country’s population centers. And those population centers look nothing like the make up on TV would have you believe.

    Sure there are tons of white people in the rest of the country, but THESES SHOWS AREN’T BEING SET THERE! Sure you have stuff like toddlers and tiaras, of course it’s white, most of the people in kentucky are. But most of television ignores that people of color exist in yes, even those other parts of the country. Alabama for example 1 in 4 is black.

    Also, by the way, the US only has about 311 million people. There are 50 million hispanics, 38 million blacks, 14 million asians, and 19 million of other non-white races. That is 121 MILLION PEOPLE of color, compared to 196 non-hispanic whites. And if gays are a reflection of the general population, then no matter how you cut it, the diversity simply isn’t there.

    I cant name a single Latino gay person on a current tv show. Black, I can only think of maybe 1 or 2 at most. So thats adequate? These are national shows, most often depicting major cities, and this is how it is?

Comments are closed.