There are a record number of LGBTQ characters on US broadcast television, according to a new report from GLAAD.
Every year, GLAAD assesses the state of LGBTQ representation on the small screen, including broadcast, cable, and streaming.
The Where We Are On TV report for 2017-18 saw major strides in some areas, while other areas’ numbers still remain down.
‘At its best, television should reflect the full diversity of our community and therefore our society,’ said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. ‘It’s long past time for television to introduce more diverse LGBTQ characters on multiple levels.
‘When the Administration in Washington, D.C. is actively working to roll back the rights of all marginalized communities and using fear to divide us, entertainment has the unparalleled opportunity to connect with people in their living rooms.’
GLAAD looked at 901 series regular shows on 115 scripted primetime broadcast shows, with networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and the CW.
Of the 901 characters, 58 are LGBTQ, which is 15 more than last year’s 43. Overall, 6.4% of scripted primetime regular characters are LGBTQ, which is higher than last year’s 4.8% and higher than GLAAD has ever reported before.
On cable, GLAAD found 103 LGBTQ characters (11 more than last year), and on streaming, they found 70 total LGBTQ characters (up from 65 last year).
For the first time ever, GLAAD was able to count asexual and non-binary characters. They counted four non-binary characters overall, and on asexual character in both the cable and streaming categories.
Where progress is still needed
Most of the LGBTQ representation on television remains white gay men, though the US counts more women and bisexuals make up the largest percentage of the community in the US.
FOX and ABC get the closest to gender equality, with 45% of their characters being women.
Cable and streaming are far more successful. On cable, 49% of all LGBTQ characters (regular and recurring) are women. Streaming is the only platform where LGBTQ women outnumber men — 70% to 29%.
Racial diversity is behind on all platforms, with white LGBTQ characters making up large majorities.
Only cable saw an increase in LGBTQ characters of color from last year.