GLAAD’s released its annual “Where We Are on TV” report, assessing representation of LGBT character on primetime television in the upcoming 2016-2017 season.
First the good news: There’s a record number of LGBT characters on broadcast and streaming series since GLAAD began its research 21 years ago.
Among nearly 900 series regular characters on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW, 43 characters—or approximately 4.8%—are lesbian, gay, bi, trans or queer. That’s up from 35 last season. (The number is an estimate based on series announced or aired June 2016-May 2017.)
Also, the number of trans characters across all platforms has more than doubled since last year. Trans performers have already been announced as series regulars for CBS’ Doubt and CMT’s Nashville.
The bad news: Being a gay woman on television is dangerous to your health. More than 25 lesbian and bi characters were killed off this year.
The “bury your gays” trend—which included deaths on on Orange is the New Black, Wentworth, the 100 and Jane the Virgin, among other shows—sparked outrage among queer viewers and has inspiring a campaign, LGBT Fans Deserve Better.
— LGBT Fans (@LGBTFans) May 20, 2016
“LGBT characters have long suffered and been erased in the media,” says the group in a statement.
“When they are present on screen, they are often villainized, killed or subjected to violence and/or other negative tropes meant to teach a moral lesson: that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or any other non-heterosexual or cissexual identity is not okay.”
Other highlights from the report:
* ABC had the highest percentage of LGBT regular characters, with 7.3%.
* The number of regular LGBT characters on primetime scripted cable series increased from 84 to 92.
* Inclusive series debuting this season include American Housewife,
Conviction, Designated Survivor, Bull, Riverdale, The Exorcist and Midnight, Texas—though shows like Teen Wolf, Pretty Little Liars and Orphan Black are all heading into their final seasons.
GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis called the progress made in LGBT representation encouraging but admitted there needs to more diverse and intricate portrayals on the small screen.
“[We] will continue to work with Hollywood to tell nuanced LGBTQ stories that accelerate acceptance – and hold the networks, streaming services, and content creators accountable for the images and storylines they present.””