An organization that monitors the presence of LGBTQ characters on television said Thursday things are improving.
Of the 857 series regular characters expected to appear on broadcast primetime scripted programming in the 2018-2019 season, 75, or 8.8 percent, are LGBTQ, said GLAAD, which was originally known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and which has been tracking the presence of LGBTQ characters on television for 23 years.
“This is the highest percentage of LGBTQ regular characters GLAAD has counted on primetime scripted broadcast programming,” the organization said in a statement. “There were an additional 38 recurring LGBTQ characters. This is 113 total LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on primetime scripted broadcast TV, up from the previous year’s 86.”
The five broadcast networks are ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, and NBC. The CW counts the highest percentage of LGBTQ series regulars of all series regulars, GLAAD said.
And for the first time this year, LGBTQ characters of color — 50 percent — outnumber white LGBTQ characters — 49 percent — among regular and recurring LGBTQ characters. LGBTQ broadcast characters are also at gender parity this year, with equal percentages of men and women characters.
The GLAAD statement called on the industry to make sure that within the next two years, 10 percent of series regular characters on primetime scripted broadcast series are LGBTQ.
“This is an important next step toward ensuring that our entertainment reflects the world in which it is created,” it said.
Things have also improved on cable, GLAAD said. The number of LGBTQ regular characters counted on cable increased from 103 last year to 120 this year, it said, while recurring LGBTQ characters is up from 70 to 88.
On cable, there are eight series that each count six or more LGBTQ characters. The 56 characters on these eight series represent 27 percent of all LGBTQ representation on cable.
“We hope to see LGBTQ characters introduced on more new shows in the next year as well,” GLAAD said.