The radical gay advocacy group GLAAD is thrilled this year that almost 9 percent of all TV characters are gay.
GLAAD puts out its annual scold list to warn Hollywood and TV Land to add more gay characters to shows, but this year the group is celebrating that more gay characters than ever in history has sashayed across TV screens nation-wide.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, GLAAD is over the moon with its 2018 report.
“Broadcast television is enlisting a record percentage of LGBTQ characters and featuring more LGBTQ characters of color than those that are white for the first time in the 2018-19 television season,” the Reporter said this week.
Despite actually only being about 4 percent of the population, gay characters now make up 8.8 percent of all TV characters.
GLAAD’s annual Where We Are on TV report found that LGBTQ characters make up 8.8 percent of all regular characters this season, up 2.4 percent from the 2017-18 season. (Last season had previously held the record for largest percentage in the report’s 23-year history.)
Among those characters, 22 percent are black, 8 percent Latinx and 8 percent Asian Pacific Islander, which represents a historical high for black characters and a tie with last year’s findings on Latinx characters. LGBTQ broadcast characters have additionally reached gender parity, with women and men both accounting for 49.6 percent of characters; last year, men were in the clear majority, making up 55 percent of characters and women 44 percent.
Overall, LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on broadcast are posting a 31 percent increase from the 2017-18 season. Meanwhile, on primetime cable shows, the report found that LGBTQ characters have increased 20 percent, from 173 to 208 characters. On Netflix, Hulu and Amazon — the streaming platforms monitored by GLAAD — these characters have increased 72 percent from the previous year, jumping from 65 characters to 112.
The gay advocacy group also celebrated the fact that gay characters also appear as main characters in a growing number of series. Instead of just bit parts, gay characters are part of the upper tier of the main casts in a larger than ever number of shows.
GLAAD praised the TV industry saying:
“This year’s Where We Are on TV report has shown important progress toward a media landscape that is LGBTQ-inclusive and portrays the community in a fair and accurate way,” GLAAD director of entertainment research and analysis Megan Townsend said. “This year we noted two history-making television moments: the premiere of FX’s Pose, which features the largest number of transgender series-regular characters on a scripted U.S. series ever, and this fall The CW’s Supergirl introduced audiences to TV’s first transgender superhero when Nicole Maines made her debut as Dreamer/Nia Nal. This is all part of a welcome increase in television telling groundbreaking stories featuring characters whose identities have long been left offscreen.”
Ratings, though, are falling farther every year for TV. It may not be long before there is a big upheaval in TV and scripted shows may diminish to a trickle due to the unwieldily cost. Once that happens, gay characters will practically disappear… along with every other kind of character.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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