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Record high for LGBTI characters on TV, but far too many queer women are being killed off

Record high for LGBTI characters on TV, but far too many queer women are being killed off

The Bury Your Gays Trope is out in force

LGBTI representation on television has hit a record high, but it’s not all good news in GLAAD’s TV report for the 2016-17 season.

This year has found the highest percentage (4.8%) of LGBTI regular characters on broadcast television since GLAAD began tracking the TV landscape 12 years ago.

Trans characters have doubled across all platforms, with 20% of all series regular characters are black and a record-high percentage of regular characters with disabilities (1.7%).

However, the ‘bury your gays’ trope is still alive with over 25 gay and bisexual female characters being killed off on scripted series since the beginning of 2016.

‘This sends a dangerous message to audiences that LGBTI people are secondary and disposable,’ GLAAD said in the Where We Are On TV report.

‘It is important that creators do not reinvigorate harmful tropes, which exploit and already marginalized community’.

Other findings were:

  • Each platform tracked (broadcast, cable, streaming) counts one character who is HIV-positive, though only broadcast television counts the character as a series regular (Oliver on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder).
  • Cable and streaming platforms still need to include more racially diverse LGBTI characters as a majority of LGBTI characters on each platform (72% and 71% respectively) are counted as white.
  • While this year marks the highest percentage of primetime broadcast regulars who are black, black women remain underrepresented at only 38% of all black series regulars.
  • Bisexual representation on broadcast television rose to 30%, up from 20% on last year’s report. However, the representation skews largely female, with 16 women and only five men.