This year’s GLAAD “Where We Are on TV” study found that the inclusion rate of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gay characters is at an all-time high, with 11.9%. Among the series’ regular characters on the prime-time series whose script is
This marks a significant increase from both last year’s 9.1% inclusion and the study’s previous high of 10.2%.
The 2021-2022 television season also marks the first time that lesbian characters represent the majority (40%) of LGBTQ characters across the five broadcast networks, surpassing that of men. Also in this season, 42 transgender characters are regularly and periodically watched across all broadcast, cable and online channels, up from 29 last year.
As for bisexual representation, of the 637 regular and recurring characters on scripted broadcast, cable and streaming this season, 183 (29%) count as bisexual + – up slightly from last year, although bi + people actually make up the majority (55%) of the adult LGBTQ community (according to Gallup).
(NOTE: While recent “Where We Are on TV” studies only surveyed streaming services Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, this year GLAAD also examined LGBTQ characters on Apple TV. +, Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+ and Peacock.)
Other headlines from the 40-page report….
♦ Among broadcast networks, The CW’s fourth season in a row posted the highest percentages of regular characters in the LGBTQ series (17.1%), followed by Fox (13.3%) and ABC (12.5%). Only NBC has declined this year (from 8.3% to 7.2%), while CBS has continuously improved strongly (from 2.9% to 6.6%).
♦ Of the 637 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters on prime-time broadcasts featuring scripted, cable, and online originals, 42 (or 6%) are transgender. This is an increase of 13 characters from the previous year, but a decrease of two percentage points. (🚩) On television, 5 out of 8 transgender characters appear on The CW, while Freeform, HBO, and Showtime take up all 8 trans characters of the cable. Among the streamers, neither Disney+ nor Apple TV+ featured transgender characters.)
🚩 Broadcast-TV lags behind cable/streaming when it comes to LGBTQ characters as sole lead of a series. Exceptions include The CW’s Naomi (is a bi teen) and Batwoman (which features a lesbian protagonist as well as some gay women in the broader population).
♦ On cable, the number of LGBTQ characters increased slightlyfrom 118 to 138 – although still a far cry from the 215 reported before the pandemic.
♦ Lesbian characters are featured on cable for the first time in over 15 yearsmake up 35% of LGBTQ characters – this is very much credited for Showtime’s recently announced comeback The L Word: Generation Q. On cable TV, gay men make up 33% of LGBTQ characters, and bi make up 31%; transsexual characters reduced to eight characters (from 10); there are four non-binary characters who are not transgender; and those identified as asexual went from one to none.
🚩 Of the 138 LGBTQ characters on cable this season, 26 (or 19%) are not expected to return next year (due to cancellations, being written down, etc;), while another 12 characters (9%) will return for the final season of their show.
♦ Among cable networks, Showtime leads with 35 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters – 46% of which appear on The L Word: Generation Q. First year student matriculated Yellow jacket added four to the mix, while American Rust, Billions and Dexter: New Blood among other shows to add to Showtime’s tally. Freeform followed with 15 LGBTQ characters, while now Posture-less FX has 14. (As in previous years, nearly half of LGBTQ characters on cable appear on just those three networks.)
♦ Streaming is the only platform this year where gay men are in the majority of LGBTQ characters (with 33%). Lesbian representation dropped slightly to 27%, while bi + made up 32%. In addition, streaming scripted originals counts 26 converted characters and 11 non-binary characters that are not gendered.
♦ Among streamers, Netflix leads with 155 regular or recurring LGBTQ characters, followed by HBO Max (71), Amazon (36), Hulu (36) and Peacock (32). Disney+, Paramount+, and Apple TV+ – each featuring 12 or fewer LGBTQ characters in total – ranked sixth through eighth.
♦ GLAAD has previously called on all platforms to ensure that half of LGBTQ characters are people of color. Broadcast-TV hit that target, but this year cable programming has dropped to 45%. Meanwhile, streaming improved to 49%.
♦ GLAAD also studies gender representation around the world, and 2021-22 season saw a record increase in the number of regular female series on scripted broadcasts – though that’s still 47% lower than the actual 51% of women in the US (according to the Census Bureau). ABC leads with female characters (52%), while NBC comes in last (40%).
♦ ABC has the highest representation of the regular series POCwith 57%, followed by The CW (53%), NBC (50%), CBS (47%) and Fox (42%).
♦ Out of 775 official characters on TV this year, 25% is black – a new high. ABC leads in that respect, followed by NBC, The CW, Fox and CBS.
♦ Latino representation on television-television increased this year to 8 percent, led by ABC (but driven in part by Tied to Hulu Promised land), followed by NBC, CBS, The CW, and Fox.
On television, 7 percent of characters are Asia-Pacific., on par with last year. The CW leads on that front, followed by Fox, CBS and NBC (tie), and ABC.
♦Quantity disabled characters (2.8%) continue to be disproportionately fewer than the actual population (13.3% according to the 2017 US Census). NBC leads the way with 14 characters with general disabilities (including New AmsterdamBloom, This is us‘Tess and La Breaby Izzy), followed by ABC (4), The CW (2) and CBS/Fox (1).
♦ Last year, GLAAD counted three people living with HIV, all on FX’s Posture. This season, only two characters are infected with HIV – and both repeat, not sequence.
https://tvline.com/2022/02/17/glaad-report-tv-lgbtq-representation/ TV LGBTQ inclusion at an all-time high, lesbian and transgender improvement