GLAAD study finds LGBT characters on TV at a record high, but lacking diversity

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New research from GLAAD has discovered a record high for TV in LGBT characters, but still a lack of diversity.

The 22nd annual ‘Where We Are On TV’ report from GLAAD collects data on the diversity and representation of LGBT characters on television.

It reports the number of LGBTQ characters on cable networks and streaming services for the 2017-2018 television season.

GLAAD’s study discovered that 58 of the 901 regular characters on television identified as LGBT, around 6.4 per cent of characters overall.

Whilst the number is considerably low, GLAAD revealed that it is the highest percentage the organisation has found in the study’s history.

It also identified that there were an additional 28 recurring LGBTQ characters.

However, the research noted that ‘ the racial diversity of LGBTQ characters remains an area of concern’.

Of the LGBTQ characters counted on television, cable and streaming services , 77 per cent were white.

Only two characters identified as HIV-positive, and two characters on streaming services were asexual.

In this year’s report, there are 17 regular and recurring transgender characters tracked across all three platforms.

Of those, nine are trans women, four are trans men, and four are non-binary. According to GLAAD’s previous research, this is the first time the study has been able to count non-binary characters.

GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told Attitude: “As LGBT acceptance in government and the broader American culture reverses course, television is a critical home for LGBT stories and representation matters more than ever.”

“At a time when the Trump administration is trying to render the LGBT people invisible, representing LGBT people in all of our diversity in scripted TV programs is an essential counterbalance that gives LGBT people stories to relate to and moves the broader public to support LGBT people and families.”

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