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A gayer-than-ever Glee renewed for fourth season

Kurt Hummel has been joined by other LGBT characters since show's debut

Even though its ratings are down from previous years, the musical-comedy series Glee has been renewed for a fourth season, the Fox network announced Monday (9 April).

The show currently averages 8.9 million viewers but its numbers have fallen seven percent compared to the previous season.

'Glee has continued its success as a genre-defying, global cultural phenomenon,' Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said in a statement about the renewal.

The show continues to focus on members of the William McKinley High School choir group as they deal with relationships, sexuality and social issues.

While it initially had one main gay character - Kurt Hummel - the show has gradually added several more and never shied away from showcasing their stories.

Chris Colfer, who has won a Golden Globe Award and been nominated for an Emmy for his performance as Kurt, says on an episode of Inside the Actors Studio airing on Bravo Monday: 'What I love about Kurt the most is that he is himself, despite having his world constantly tell him he should not be who he is. And it takes a lot of strength to be who he is and wear those tight pants.'

Kurt remains in a steady relationship with Blaine Anderson (played by Darren Criss), a student he met while temporarily attending a private academy.

During the current season, Kurt and Blaine have shared kisses, gone to gay bars and made love for the first time.

Other gay characters have also had dramatic journeys.

Santana, a cheerleader played by Naya Rivera, had a rocky journey to self-acceptance then suffered the rejection of her beloved grandmother when she came out to her.

On the brighter side, Santana and best friend Britanny (Heather Morris), have evolved from friends with benefits to an out couple. While Santana is a lesbian, Britanny seems to identify herself as bisexual.

And finally there is football player Dave Karofsky (Max Adler) who initially was Kurt's tormenter, a bully who so terrorized Hummel that he switched schools. Karofsky, of course, is a closeted gay with feelings for Kurt.

Karofsky switches schools where he is outed by a group of bullies. He attempts suicide but is saved by his father. Kurt visits him in the hospital and tries to help him realize that life is worth living.

'There are kids who are dealing with things like this every day. Back in the day, most people wouldn’t even want to discuss it,' Iqbal Teba, who plays the high school principal on the show, told Gay Star News last month. 'We actually have a show that’s watched by millions and millions of people all over the world and it will start a conversation. And that’s what you need.'

The show returns to the air on Tuesday with an all-new episode after being on a mid-season hiatus since late February.

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