Yep, It’s True: TV Is Gayer Than Ever

Above: River Barkley (David Corenswet) and Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) from Netflix’s The Politician.

If your fave television shows feel more queer-inclusive than in previous years, you might be onto something—at least according to GLAAD’s 2019 “Where We Are on TV” report, which counted more LGBTQ series regulars on TV shows in the 2019-2020 season than ever before.

This year’s edition of annual report counted a record-high 90 LGBTQ series-regular characters on scripted TV shows. Of the 879 overall series regulars the advocacy group found across all major TV networks and streaming services, those 90 protagonists make up just over 10%.

It’s the highest percentage of queer series regulars GLAAD has found since its first “Where We Are on TV” report 15 years ago—and that figure doesn’t even include the additional 30 recurring LGBTQ characters the group also counted for the 2019-2020 season.

Demographically, the bulk of LGBTQ characters GLAAD could pinpoint were bisexual (26%), with bi women making up the largest chunk of that subset.

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Notably, the group counted 38 regular and recurring transgender characters overall, up from just 26 last year. Nine characters with HIV/AIDS were also flagged. GLAAD even counted Todd Chavez from Netflix’s BoJack Horseman (pictured above), noted to be the only openly asexual character on TV.

While LGBTQ representation as a whole appears to be on the rise year-to-year, GLAAD noted that racial diversity among queer characters decreased on streaming services.

However, LGBTQ characters of color on broadcast and cable TV outnumbered white queer characters for the second year in a row.

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Dyllón Burnside and Billy Porter in FX’s Pose.

In a press statement, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis noted that the group’s challenge to Hollywood execs from 2018 to include more LGBTQ characters and storylines was heeded:

Last year, GLAAD called on the television industry to increase the number of LGBTQ characters and more accurately reflect the world we live in, and they responded by exceeding this challenge. At a time when the cultural climate is growing increasingly divisive, increased representation of LGBTQ stories and characters on television is especially critical to advance LGBTQ acceptance. Shows like Pose, Schitt’s Creek, Batwoman, and Billions demonstrate that not only are LGBTQ stories and characters on TV becoming more diverse, but that viewers everywhere continue to respond with extreme positivity.

And we haven’t even talked about The L Word: Generation Q yet. Head over to GLAAD’s website for the full report.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.

@_sammanzella


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