This morning, GLAAD released its annual “Where We Are On TV” report, which takes a deep dive into LGBTQ+ representation on primetime, cable and streaming networks. This year marks the 18th annual report GLAAD has conducted. The report is available to download in its entirety, but here are some highlights and areas of concern from the report.
For the first time since streaming services were added to the report, the majority of LGBTQ+ characters on the platform are characters of color, making up 53% of all LGBTQ+ characters. BIPOC characters also make up 50% of all LGBTQ+ characters on primetime scripted cable.
For the first time, GLAAD is counting nonbinary characters in their own category instead of including them in the transgender category. In this reporting cycle, 25 nonbinary characters were counted.
Smaller streamers like AMC+, BET+, Freevee and Revry offered a number of significant LGTQ+ characters, including leads in “High School” and “This is Going to Hurt.”
The not-so-great news
Scripted primetime broadcast series saw a decrease of 22 LGBTQ+ characters. While the percentage equals little more than 1% decrease, the loss of those characters is impactful for fans.
Bisexual characters fell by 35 characters (4% decrease)
The number of Black LGBTQ+ characters fell by 15 characters (1% decrease).
LGBTQ+ Latino/Latina/Latine/Latinx characters fell by five characters (1% decrease).
Broadcast and cable saw a small decrease in LGBTQ+ Asian Pacific Islander representation while streaming increased LGBTQ+ API characters by 2%.
Only 4.5 percent of LGBTQ+ characters reported has a disability. GLAAD writes, “Of the 596 LGBTQ characters counted in this report, only 27 (4.5%) have a disability, far below actual population estimates.”
Canceling your gays is having a real impact
According to GLAAD, 29% of LGBTQ+ characters will not return, whether because of a limited series or the death of a character, or cancellation. Canceled series with LGBTQ+ characters have become so prevalent that GLAAD included a break out section to address it. In this report cycle (June 2022-March 2023), 54 LGBTQ-inclusive series were canceled, eliminating 140 LGBTQ+ characters. Here’s a breakdown:
Steaming platforms: 30 LGBTQ+ inclusive show cancellations
Cable: 15 LGBTQ+ inclusive show cancellations
Network broadcast TV: 9 LGBTQ+ inclusive show cancellations
That means there are now 73 fewer LGBTQ+ women characters, 61 fewer LGBTQ+ men and 6 fewer nonbinary characters.
With more and more people identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community, representation on television is vital not just for the community, but for those outside of it. With rising anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and new legislation being introduced every week, seeing positive portrayals of LGBTQ+ characters can have a meaningful impact.