In 2017 it can be quite misleading to think that everybody is welcomed and that we live in an open, accepting society where everybody is depicted and represented in the media. Although this may be true to some, for the LGBTQ community there’s a lack of equal or non-stereotypical representation in the media of them.
For more than 20 years, GLAAD has tracked the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) characters on television. In that time, the entertainment and cultural landscapes have changed dramatically. With this year’s results being the highest percentage of LGBTQ series regular characters on broadcast television found since expanding their count to gather more comprehensive data 12 years ago.
In GLAAD’s research, “Where We Are on TV Report” for the 2016 – 2107 season they found that out of 895 series regular characters that were expected to appear on broadcast scripted primetime programming in the coming year, only 43 (4.8 percent) were identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Out of the 43 identified, 28 were recurring LGBTQ characters.
In scripted primetime cable series, the representation of LGBTQ increased from 84 to 92 with the recurring character roles decreasing from 58 to 50. Totaling to 142 LGBTQ characters in recurring and regular roles.
In the streaming world, GLAAD looked at characters in original series that premiered on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, finding 65 characters representing the LGBTQ community. Which increase from last year’s inaugural streaming count of 59 LGBTQ characters.
However, even with an increase of LGBTQ characters GLAAD came to the conclusion that cable and streaming platforms needed to include more racially diverse LGBTQ characters as a majority.
As of the moment, 72 percent of LGBTQ characters on cable are white, while 71 percent of LGBTQ characters on streaming platforms are white. However, racial diversity is up again with 36 percent series regular characters on broadcast counted as people of color.
GLAAD also found that for the first time this season on every platform has included several transgender characters with many of these characters being played by trans actors who can bring their authentic experiences to the role.
But even at that the numbers remain only part of the story. “For all the advancement made, many LGBTQ characters still fall into outdated stereotypes or harmful tropes,” as stated in the report.
They are not usually central characters and don’t usually have the same opportunities in character development as straight characters in TV and film.
However, even with all these facts, it’s still evident that there has been significant progress in representation for the LGBTQ community. With time there will be more remarkable progress and hopefully equal representation of all genders in television and film.