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There are more (white, male) LGBTQ characters on TV than ever before

Cameron Monaghan stars in Shameless (Photo: Showtime)

GLAAD has released its annual “Where We Are on TV” report, its regular analysis of the LGBTQ characters on the small/second screen, Variety reports. An there’s certainly some good news in there, as GLAAD finds that there are more queer characters on TV than ever. But the medium still needs some improvement, because that number is still just 6.4 percent (or 58 of 901) of regular characters, and those parts are still predominantly white and male.

The organization regularly scans scripted shows on cable, broadcast, and streaming outlets, and the 2016-2017 analysis yielded the highest number of LGBTQ characters in the history of the “We Are On TV” report. GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis stressed the importance of representation at a time when there are outspoken bigots in the highest levels of government: “As LGBTQ acceptance in government and the broader American culture reverses course, television is a critical home for LGBTQ stories and representation matters more than ever,” she said. “At a time when the Trump administration is trying to render LGBTQ people invisible, representing LGBTQ people in all of our diversity in scripted TV programs is an essential counterbalance that gives LGBTQ people stories to relate to and moves the broader public to support LGBTQ people and families.”

But though this is certainly heartening news, the report still found that TV shows across outlets are still seriously lacking in queer characters of color. The greatest dearth was in original streaming series—approximately 77 percent of their 70 LGBTQ characters were white. This was the first time that GLAAD’s report included nonbinary and asexual characters, though.


These figures include regular, recurring, and guest characters. There are currently 173 recurring and regular LGBTQ characters, which is an improvement over last year (Amazon, Hulu and Netflix had a combined total of 70). Other findings include a slight drop in the number of bisexual characters (who are still mostly women), as well as 17 regular and recurring trans characters across streaming, broadcast, and cable outlets. The full report is available here.

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