The representation of prime-time TV characters identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer has reached record highs in the past year. But despite that progress, the range of diversity of those characters remains limited.
That conclusion was detailed Thursday in “Where We Are on TV,” the latest in the series of annual reports issued by GLAAD, which monitors the extent and portrayals of regular and recurring LGBTQ characters on scripted broadcast cable and streaming series. The reports also examine the overall diversity of scripted shows on prime-time broadcast TV.
The report from the advocacy group said that of the 901 series regular characters expected to appear on broadcast prime-time scripted programs in the 2017-18 TV season, 58, or 6.4%, were identified as LGBTQ. The total represents the highest percentage of LGBTQ regular characters since GLAAD started its expanded survey 13 years ago. The report said there were an additional 28 recurring LGBTQ characters in prime time.
Overall, the study said, 86 LGBTQ regular and recurring characters appear on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and the CW, a boost from last year’s previous high of 71.
Shows in the report hailed for featuring LGBTQ characters in lead roles included NBC’s “Will & Grace” and ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder.”
On the cable front, the number of LGBTQ regular characters increased from 92 last year to 103 this year, while recurring LGBTQ characters went up from 50 to 70.
But the report said the boost in numbers is only part of the story, as TV continues to grapple with the issue of increasing diversity. LGBTQ characters are still predominantly white and male.