While the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) remains unimpressed by representation in Hollywood studios, the organization is now applauding its annual “Where We Are on TV” report that shows a high number of LGBTQ regulars on broadcast television.
“This increase is exciting to see, given that LGBTQ women have been historically underrepresented in media,” the group announced.
The “Where We Are on TV” report examined not only the number of LGBTQ series regulars, but also the number of featured lesbian relationships and racial diversity.
Published Thursday, the report indicates overall significant growth in diversity, with LGBTQ characters comprising 10.2 % of all series regulars on primetime scripted broadcast shows,” reports The Hollywood Reporter. “(That is a 1.4% increase from last year’s 8.8%.) The updated figure signals the highest percentage that GLAAD has uncovered since it began tracking such data in the 2005-06 season.”
“Among those characters, 22% are black, 13% are Latinx and 8% are Asian Pacific Islander, which represents an equal high for black and Asian Pacific Islander characters since last year and a new high for Latinx characters,” the report continued. “Of all the broadcast networks, ABC offers the most Latinx representation, largely due to the cast of its upcoming comedy ‘The Baker and the Beauty’ and recently canceled series ‘Grand Hotel.'”
The report also noticed an uptick in the representation of women, hitting a record of 46% out of the 879 regular characters on primetime television. Despite the increase, however, the report noted that the numbers are not high enough until it matches and reflects the fact that women comprise 51% of the U.S. population.
Without question, lesbian representation in broadcast television made its biggest splash with the CW’s “Batwoman,” which stars Ruby Rose as a lesbian version of the female caped crusader.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, praised the television for heeding the organization’s call to increase LGBTQ representation.” 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 Ellis. “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.”
Ellis called on the entire entertainment industry to increase LGBTQ representation by up to 20% by the year 2025.”Yet, our community finds itself in 2019 facing unprecedented attacks on our progress,” continued Ellis. “GLAAD is calling on the industry to ensure that 20% of series regular characters on prime scripted broadcast series are LGBTQ by 2025. The role of television in changing hearts and minds has never been more important. Indeed, our nation’s cultural institutions are being called to stand in the gap at this tumultuous time in the history of our movement for full acceptance.”GLAAD director of entertainment research and analysis Megan Townsend said that while the numbers indeed paint a positive picture, the increased representation stems from only a handful of players.
“Programming from four dedicated producers and creators who prioritize inclusion, Greg Berlanti, Lena Waithe, Ryan Murphy, and Shonda Rhimes, accounts for 14% of total LGBTQ characters across broadcast, cable, and streaming originals,” said Townsend. “We hope to see all networks follow their lead, and work towards reflecting the reality of their audience and the culture.”