LGBT characters at all time high on US television

Nov 04, 2016, 00:45
LGBT characters at all time high on US television

GLAAD-approved Fuse shows like Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce and Transcendent also star a large amount of LGBTQ characters. These increases appear across broadcast networks like ABC, leading others at 7.3 percent of regular characters, and streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.

GLAAD added that some some TV characters and storylines still portrayed the LGBTQ community in a negative or stereotypical way, in particular mentioning many bisexual characters are portrayed in ways that "all [feed] into risky stereotypes about bisexual people".

Bisexual representation on broadcast television rose to 30%, up from 20% on last year's report. "When there are so few lesbian and bisexual women on television, the decision to kill these characters in droves sends a toxic message about the worth of queer female stories". That is up from the 0.9% reported past year.

LGBT characters hit a record high this year on network television, according to a GLAAD report.

Known as "bury your gays", this trope taps into a chilling tradition in Hollywood, treating queer characters as secondary and disposable. Fans were particularly outraged after CW's dystopian teen drama "The 100" killed off a beloved character in March.

Where We Are on TV takes into account scripted primetime series airing from June 1, 2016 until May 31, 2017, and examines regular and reoccurring characters - a distinction that recognizes how much a character is integrated into a show's season.

"Most of these deaths served no other goal than to further the narrative of a more central (and often straight, cisgender) character", Ellis wrote.

Bisexual women outnumber bisexual men across platforms; out of 21 characters identified as bisexual, only five are men. Award-winning and critically hailed streaming shows like Transparent set a sterling example around diversity of LGBTQ stories and characters, and the numbers of those characters on screen. GLAAD notes that the dramedy, which stars Jeffrey Tambor as a 70-year-old transgender woman, features two other transgender characters (both played by transgender actors) and three other characters identified as LGBT.

That's the highest percentage of LGBTQ series regulars noted since GLAAD began tracking it 12 years ago.

It feels odd, though, to be celebrating what remains a paltry number; if 5 percent against 95 percent is a number we should celebrate, it also shows how far Hollywood has to go in fully evoking LGBTQ people, and our diverse lives, on the TV shows it makes. "Make no mistake, there has been remarkable progress made on television over the past two decades", Ellis wrote, adding that "there is still a great amount of work to be done to ensure fair, accurate and inclusive stories, and we know there are plenty of diverse and groundbreaking stories yet to be told".

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