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LGBTQ+ Characters Are Disappearing Across Broadcast, Cable, Streaming Networks

Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.

After last year's Hollywood writers strikes, LGBTQ+ characters seem to be disappearing from the small screen, according to GLAAD's annual Where We Are on TV report.

The 19th edition of the report was released on Tuesday, and GLAAD found that LGBTQ+ representation has declined for a second consecutive year based on the number of regular and recurring characters on scripted primetime broadcast, scripted primetime cable and scripted series on eight major streaming platforms that aired between June 1, 2023, and May 31, 2024.

"GLAAD's Where We Are on TV study found a number of concerning decreases across the board in the past two years," said Megan Townsend, GLAAD senior director of entertainment research and analysis, "alongside a changing industry on all fronts which is seeing increased vertical integration and contracting budgets and staff."

According to the study, "GLAAD counted 208 LGBTQ series regular characters and 119 recurring LGBTQ characters on streaming scripted original programming for a total of 327 LGBTQ characters." Yet this number is a decrease by 29 characters when compared to last year's study.

Overall, there were 468 LGBTQ+ characters counted across all platforms (broadcast, cable, and streaming), 24 of them transgender characters, which is a decrease of eight characters and 0.3% from the previous study. Out of this year's transgender representation, there were 11 characters identifying as trans women, five identifying as trans men, and eight trans nonbinary identifying characters.

Of those 468 LGBTQ+ characters counted across all platforms, 232, or 50%, were characters of color, which is a decrease of 72 characters from the previous study. Tim Laughlin, played Jonathan Bailey in Showtime's "Fellow Travelers" miniseries, was the only LGBTQ+ character living with HIV represented.

"We know it is imperative for the queer community, especially transgender people, to see our lives reflected on screen to counteract the misinformation and harmful rhetoric going unchecked by politicians and journalists. And we know that younger audiences are hungry for shows that truly reflect the world around them," said GLAAD President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis. "The answer behind impactful and long-lasting television is right there for studio executives, showrunners, and Hollywood at-large and the stakes could not be higher."

Read the full GLAAD study.

by Emell Adolphus

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