GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization has announced the findings of its annual Where We Are on TV report.
Where We Are on TV analyzes the overall diversity of primetime scripted series regulars on broadcast networks and assesses the number of LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on primetime scripted cable programming and original scripted streaming series on the services Amazon, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+, and Peacock between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022. This marks the 26th year that GLAAD has tracked the presence of LGBTQ characters on television, and the 17th edition of the Where We Are on TV report.
Read the full report here.
This year’s study found that of the 775 series regular characters scheduled to appear on scripted broadcast primetime programming for the 2021-2022 season, 92 characters (11.9 percent) are LGBTQ. This is an increase of 2.8 percentage points from the previous year and marks a new record high percentage of LGBTQ series regulars on broadcast.
- For the first time in this report’s history, lesbian characters represent the majority of the LGBTQ characters on broadcast at 40 percent (56 characters), up six percentage points from the previous season.
- Gay men make up 35 percent (49) of characters, a decrease of five percentage points from last year.
- Bisexual+ representation increased very slightly this year, after two years of decreases. Bi+ characters represent 19 percent (27) of regular and recurring LGBTQ characters, an increase of one percentage point from last year.
- Racial diversity of LGBTQ characters is up on broadcast and streaming, but down on cable. For a fourth year in a row, LGBTQ people of color (58 percent) outweigh white LGBTQ people on broadcast, continuing to meet GLAAD’s previous challenge of having more than half of LGBTQ characters who were also people of color. After meeting and surpassing the challenge last year, representation of LGBTQ people of color on cable decreased this year to 45 percent. Representation of LGBTQ people of color on streaming increased to 49 percent.
- This year, there are 42 regular and recurring transgender characters tracked across all three platforms, up from 29 last year. Of those, 20 are trans women, 14 are trans men, and eight are nonbinary trans characters. These characters appear in 25 dramas and 11 comedies. There are a further 17 characters who are nonbinary and not trans.
- GLAAD counted only two characters living with HIV, a decrease from the previous year’s three characters (all of whom appeared on FX’s Pose), and a significant decrease from the nine characters tallied in the study prior to that. Both characters counted this year are recurring, Michael in Netflix’s Dear White People and Saiin NBC’s Ordinary Joe. In last year’s study, GLAAD and Gilead Sciences called on the entertainment industry to grow representation of HIV in an effort to drive cultural and societal change in ending the stigma of people who are living with HIV.
“The growing state of LGBTQ representation on television is a signal that Hollywood is truly starting to recognize the power of telling LGBTQ stories that audiences around the world connect with,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “At a time when anti-LGBTQ legislation and violence continues to increase, it is cultural institutions like television that take on the crucial role of changing hearts and minds through diverse and inclusive storytelling. Networks and platforms must continue to prioritize telling LGBTQ stories that have been long overlooked, with a specific focus on the trans community, LGBTQ people of color, people living with HIV, and LGBTQ people with disabilities.”
GLAAD uses the data from the Where We Are on TV study to shape its work as a resource to the industry throughout the year, including to advocate for leaders in the TV industry to greenlight more diverse and substantive LGBTQ representations that accelerate acceptance.
Last month, GLAAD announced the nominees for the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, including many scripted television programs featuring powerful stories about the trans community and LGBTQ people of color. For a full list of nominees for the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, click here.