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GLAAD TV Study Reveals More Gay Characters, Mostly On ABC Or True Blood


GLAAD today released its 15th annual "Where We Are On TV" review of LGBT television characters on broadcast and cable television shows. It's a mixed bag.

The good news: gay people are more visible on television than ever; the bad news: there is not one LGBT person of color on broadcast television. Actually, there's not a "T" either.

The report shows that 23 LGBT characters will account for 3.9% of scripted series regulars in the 2010-2011 broadcast television schedule, up from 1.1% in 2007, 2.6% in 2008, and 3% in 2009. The number of scripted LGBT series regulars found on mainstream cable networks has rebounded after a two year decline, from 40 in 2007, 32 in 2008, 25 in 2009, to 35 this year.

In cable realm, True Blood takes the cake for having the most LGBT characters, 6 regular, and network ABC wins, again, for having 7.2% of their regular characters -- eleven out of 152 -- be of the LGBT variety. CBS, meanwhile, came in dead last for having only one LGBT character, the network's first since 2006.

Meanwhile, not surprisingly, the queer characters on television remain mostly white and male:

Male characters continue to outweigh female characters 59% (345) to 41% (242) in overall numbers, while 77% (449) of all series regular characters are white. African American representation has increased slightly to 12% (71) while Latino/a representation has remained steady at 5% (29). GLAAD counted 25 Asian Pacific Islander characters (4%), two more than last season.

Though GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios praised the higher levels of gay on television, he also warned programmers that viewers need to see a positive reflection of their identity, not simply one part of it.

"While the number of characters is increasing, many members of our community still do not see stories reflecting their lives," said Barrios. "It is troubling that the broadcast networks will not feature even one black LGBT character or one transgender character in the upcoming primetime lineup.”

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  1. This is what we get for $15 million a year? A study that tells us what we already know?

    GLAAD is a waste of money. Stop giving.

    Posted by: AndrewW | Sep 29, 2010 10:10:08 AM

  2. I always thought these kinds of studies missed the point.

    From a viewer's standpoint I'd rather the networks air quality programming that I want to watch based on its merits - not solely on race, gender or sexuality of its character cast.

    Bascially, who cares if they include LGBT characters. Sure, its nice when they do - but at the same many of those characters are simply type cast as gay stereotypes.

    I'd almost rather NOT see those than see them, personally.

    Posted by: AERES | Sep 29, 2010 10:33:58 AM

  3. I'd rather read something on career opps for (real) LGBT actors. Characters are so 2009.

    Posted by: Sean R | Sep 29, 2010 10:46:33 AM

  4. Who needs G/L characters on prime-time TV if they're just reinforcing stereotypes or stock perverts and deviant villains. While amusing minstrels, could we have more G/L characters who break the mold, or who are unexpectedly gay or lesbian?

    Posted by: Ted B. | Sep 29, 2010 11:05:43 AM

  5. GlAAD & HRC are just abotu the money and lavishes parties....WHAT A JOKE the organizations have become....LOOK at GETEQUAL....they're actually fighting and I plan to join them instead.

    Posted by: Bosie | Sep 29, 2010 12:11:04 PM

  6. BBC America

    an american cable channel has far more gay characters and quality programing to boot

    GLAAD is useless except for smoozing at holywood shindigs

    Posted by: | Sep 29, 2010 3:41:01 PM

  7. The outcome is that there is not a single LGBT person of color on tv? And they even show a picture of darkskinned Lafayette from True Blood? Epic FAIL of a study!!

    Posted by: Roxy | Sep 30, 2010 3:48:29 AM

  8. "There's still lots of room for improvement. Of the 23 LGBT regular characters on broadcast TV, just 6 are people of color and 2 are people with disabilities. If you add in recurring characters who may not appear regularly, the picture is even more homogeneous — 81% of regular and recurring LGBT characters are white. There is only one trans character on scripted TV this season — Adam on Degrassi. And while the broadcast season includes a few lesbian and bisexual women, a breakdown of its LGBT characters reveals a significant slant toward the gay, white male.

    Clearly TV has improved in its inclusion of LGBT characters, but it has a ways to go in terms of diversity. Gay white men on popular shows like Sex & the City and Will & Grace may have made this particular demographic more acceptable than most to TV writers and producers, but it's time for them to incorporate gay people of color, people with disabilities, and trans people as well. And to those who might find this recommendation too PC, remember that inclusion isn't just political, it's also aesthetic: shows are better the more stories they have at their disposal. Why would they want to limit themselves to narratives about people who are male, or able-bodied, or white?"

    Posted by: replica watches | Oct 17, 2011 6:09:58 AM

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