LGTBQ characters of color on television are steadily increasing, especially on television, where 47 percent of all regular characters on broadcast scripted TV series are people of color, a three percent increase and a record high, according to a new report released by GLAAD. In addition, and for the second year in a row, the report titled “GLAAD we’re on TV” confirmed that LGBTQ characters of color are outnumbering their White counterparts, representing 52 percent compared to 48 percent. GLAAD had challenged all platforms–broadcast, cable, and streaming–to make at least half of LGBTQ characters on each platform be people of color, within the next two years.
“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,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD told Deadline in an article published today (November 8). “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.”
The report emphasized the importance of TV watchers having access to diversity by noting that The Public Religion Research Institute found that less than 25 percent of Americans have a close friend or family member who is transgender, which means that much of what’s learned comes from what they see in media and on their screens. “This is why the historic casting of Brian Michael Smith as Paul Strickland–primetime scripted broadcast TV’s first Black, transgender man series regular character–on FOX’s mid-season drama ‘9-1-1: Lone Star’ is so important,” said the study.
Additional key findings from the report:
When it comes to racial diversity, of the 120 regular characters on broadcast, 52 percent are people of color, a two-percentage point increase from last year with six more characters. This marks the second year in a row where LGBTQ people of color have outnumbered White LGBTQ people on broadcast, making broadcast the only platform to meet the goal of having at least half of LGBTQ characters be characters of color.
Another record-high percentage was with Latinx characters, up one percent to nine. Black series characters held steady at 22 percent, while Asian Pacific Islanders represented eight percent across broadcast television regular characters.
On the cable and streaming side, diversity is moving a bit slower: Cable has 48 percent who represent characters of color–up two percentage points from last year–whereas streaming has shown 41 percent people of color, a seven percentage point drop from last year.