TV Gets Less Gay This Season


GLAAD has realeased its annual “Where We Are On TV” report, and for the first time in four years, the number of LGBT characters on scripted network primetime shows is expected to decrease. That’s particularly sad when you consider that GLAAD even has characters like Roger, the “omnisexual” alien on American Dad, included on its list.

The Associated Press reports that out of nearly 650 roles on the five broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC) TV, only 19 are gay, down from 23 last year. That’s only 2.9 percent of regular roles, down from 3.9 percent last year, and 3 percent in the 2009-2010 season. Proving once again that it couldn’t be more different from Fox News, Fox has the most LGBT characters on TV, thanks mainly to Glee. According to GLAAD’s list of characters’ sexual orientation and ethnicity, out of 117 regular characters on the network, eight are gay: Blaine, Kurt, Santana, and Brittany from Glee, as well as two characters from the upcoming show Allen Gregory, Angela Montenegro on Bones, and the aforementioned Roger. This is the first time in six years that ABC didn’t have the most inclusive lineup, and CBS is dead last for the fourth year in a row.

On cable TV (or however HBO would like to classify itself) the numbers are also down slightly, from 35 last season to 29 in the current season. The report praises True Blood for having the most LGBT regulars, “thanks mainly to the diverse vampires, witches and witches and werewolves.”

It’s interesting to note that in addition to not featuring many gay characters, women are still drastically underrepresented on some networks. GLAAD tallied the number of female series regulars on scripted primetime shows and found that overall women make up only 43 percent. The only network that actually reflects the slightly higher percentage of women in the population is ABC, which has 51.4 percent female characters. Once again, the worst is CBS. Only 35.8 percent of the network’s characters are women.

All of this should be taken with a grain of salt because GLAAD is calling just the existence of gays on TV progress. Maybe any homosexual or trangender character is better than none, but the list doesn’t account for how the character is portrayed. South Park‘s Mr. Garrison appears on the list, and though he’s tried out every term in the acronym, you can’t say he’s a positive representation of someone who’s lesbian, gay, bi, or transgender.

Study Finds Fewer Gay Characters On Network TV [AP]
Character List [GLAAD]

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