GLAAD’s annual Where We Are on TV report finds that, after a decrease last year, the number of regular lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters on broadcast networks has risen to the highest ever recorded. The number of LGBT characters on cable also saw an increase.
Out of 97 scripted shows and 701 regular characters on the five alphabet networks – ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and The CW – 31 (4.4%) are LGBT, as are an additional 19 recurring characters. Last year there were only 19 LGBT regulars on broadcast TV. Compare that to the 35 regular LGBT characters on cable’s scripted shows, up from last season’s 29.
“This year’s increase of LGBT characters on television reflects a cultural change in the way gay and lesbian people are seen in our society,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “More and more Americans have come to accept their LGBT family members, friends, coworkers, and peers, and as audiences tune into their favorite programs, they expect to see the same diversity of people they encounter in their daily lives.”
ABC has the most LGBT regulars (10, or 5.2%), snatching the tiara from last season’s champ, FOX, which has six – the majority of them on that diversity catch-all known as Glee, broadcast TV”s most inclusive show with six regular or recurring LGBT characters. CBS increased from 0.7% to 2.8% with four LGBT characters, which GLAAD notes as “an authentic and conscious effort by CBS to improve its diversity.”
On cable, Showtime is the most inclusive network with 12 LGBT characters, seven of which are series regulars. True Blood once again comes out on top wit six LGBT characters haunting and humping the streets of Bon Temps.
Imagine, if you will, if Glee and True Blood merged to form one super gay, super diverse, super dramedy – with occasional musical numbers to fill gaps in storyline – True Glee! Glee Blood? Kurt would dump Blaine (finally) for Lafayette, Santana would shack up with Tara. We can hear the Emmy snubs racking up already.
In addition to LGBT representation on television, GLAAD also analyzed race and gender demographics:
Male characters continue to outweigh female characters 55.5% (389) to 44.5% (312) in overall numbers, while 78% (547) of all series regular characters are white. Compared to last year, African American representation has increased from 9.9% to 12% (84) while Latino/a representation has decreased from 5.6% to 4.1% (29). There were 33 Asian-Pacific Islander characters (4.7%) which is similar to last year’s figure. This also marks the third year in a row that GLAAD counted people with disabilities (PWD), who will make up just four of all regular characters (0.6%).
You can view and download the full report here.