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LGBTQ Characters on Broadcast TV Hit an All-Time High for 2021-2022 Season, GLAAD Study Finds

The media advocacy organization published its annual Where We Are on TV report on Thursday

LGBTQ representation on broadcast television has reached an all-time high in the 2021-2022 season, with notable advances for lesbian and transgender characters, according to GLAAD’s annual Where We Are on TV report published Thursday.

The report says that of the 775 series regular characters scheduled to appear on scripted broadcast primetime programming, 11.9% (or 92 characters) are LGBTQ+, which marks a 2.8% increase from last year and a record-high for television.

Additionally, GLAAD reports that there are another 49 recurring LGBTQ+ characters across broadcast television, totaling 141 LGBTQ+ characters overall.

“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,” GLAAD president & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. “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.”

GLAAD documented advances for lesbian and transgender representation in its report, noting that, for the first time in the 17 years since the organization began reporting these statistics, lesbian characters made up the majority of LGBTQ+ characters on broadcast at 40%.

That marks a 6% increase in lesbian characters on the small screen since the previous season.

On the streaming front, GLAAD expanded its report to include not only Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix but also Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock and Paramount+. On original scripted programming on those eight platforms, GLAAD counted 245 LGBTQ series regular characters and 113 LGBTQ recurring characters.

For the 2021-2022 season, there are 42 regular and recurring transgender characters across broadcast, cable, and streaming — a significant increase from last year, according to GLAAD.

Across the three platforms, racial diversity of LGBTQ+ characters was up on streaming and broadcast but down on cable. Meanwhile, GLAAD counted only two characters living with HIV — a decrease from last year when there were three (all of whom were on FX’s “Pose”).

GLAAD’s Where We Are on TV report 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 which premiered or are expected to return between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022.

The media advocacy organization uses the data from the study to shape its work as a resource to the industry throughout the year. Last month, GLAAD announced the nominees for the 33rd annual GLAAD Media Awards, including Lil Nas X, “Pose,” “Tick, Tick…Boom!” and more.