GLAAD has released its “Where We Are On TV” report, which breaks down the overall diversity of primetime scripted series regulars on broadcast networks and assesses the number of LGBTQ characters on cable networks and streaming platforms.
This year, there is more good news than bad.
“Where We Are On TV” showed that the needle has moved to an all-time high when it comes to LGBTQ series regulars. There was also a significant increase in racial diversity of LGBTQ characters on broadcast and cable — but there was a decrease in streaming. On top of that, for the first time in the report’s 24-year history, LGBTQ regular and recurring women on broadcast outnumber LGBTQ men 53 percent to 47 percent — almost reaching gender parity.
The report was presented during a panel discussion at United Talent Agency Thursday morning with GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, UTA television agent Jacob Fenton, Sabrina Jalees (“Carol’s Second Act”), Gloria Calderón Kellett (“One Day at a Time”), Nicole Maines (“Supergirl”), Marja-Lewis Ryan (“The L Word: Generation Q”), Brian Michael Smith (“The L Word: Generation Q,” “Queen Sugar,” “9-1-1: Lone Star”) and GLAAD’s cirector of entertainment research & analysis and report author Megan Townsend.
The new numbers come after last year when GLAAD made a call to action to the TV industry to reach 10 percent LGBTQ inclusion among broadcast series regular characters on primetime scripted series by 2020. The 2019-2020 report found that networks met and exceeded this call in just one year with its record-high percentage of LGBTQ series regulars on broadcast television at 10.2 percent of all series regulars, which bested last year’s record high of 8.8 percent.
When it comes to intersectionality, racial diversity in the LGBTQ space, of the 120 regular and recurring characters on broadcast, 62 (52 percent) are people of color, which is a 2-percentage point increase from last year and six more characters. This marks the second year in a row where LGBTQ people of color have outnumbered white LGBTQ people on broadcast. It is also the only platform that has hit the goal of having at least half of LGBTQ characters be characters of color.
Another record-high percentage was with Latinx series regulars, which was up to 9 percent from 8 percent. This was a record-tying number of black series regulars, which held steady at 22 percent while Asian Pacific Islander also held steady at 8 percent across broadcast television regular characters.
On the cable side, there were 215 LGBTQ characters and 48 percent (103 characters) are people of color, which is another increase from last year. On streaming, there were 153 LGBTQ characters and 41 percent (63) are people of color, which is significantly down from last year — 7 percentage points, to be exact.
“Last year, GLAAD called on the television industry to increase the number of LGBTQ characters and more accurately reflect the world we live in, and they responded by exceeding this challenge,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD. “At a time when the cultural climate is growing increasingly divisive, increased representation of LGBTQ stories and characters on television is especially critical to advance LGBTQ acceptance. Shows like “Pose,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “Batwoman” and “Billions” demonstrate that not only are LGBTQ stories and characters on TV becoming more diverse, but that viewers everywhere continue to respond with extreme positivity.”
Other noteworthy highlights from the report showed that representation was up this year across all platforms including an increase in the total number of transgender, bisexual+ and characters with HIV/AIDS.
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