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New GLAAD study sees an increase in gay depictions on television

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Greys Anatomy Callie And Arizona
ABC

GLAAD has released its annual “Where We Are On TV” study, which looks at representations of the LGBT community, along with women and other minorities, on television. And overall, this year’s study found that the number of LGBT characters has increased.

Specifically, 32 of 813 series regulars on primetime scripted television are LGBT, an increase from last year’s 26. (However, that leaves 96 percent still not identifying as LGBT.)

Fox has introduced the most LGBT characters on broadcast television with 6.5 percent of scripted regulars being lesbian, gay, or bisexual, which is an increase from last year’s 5.4 percent. Total, Fox has 10 LGBT characters among its 154 series regulars. ABC comes in second with 4.5 percent of its regular characters identifying as LGBT, or nine out of 201. NBC is in third after a major increase. Last year, NBC only had 1 percent of its primetime regular characters identifying as LGBT, and now, NBC has increased that to 3.8 percent, or seven out of 183 characters.

CBS is in fourth with 3.2 percent, an increase from last year’s 1.9 percent, with six out of 186 primetime series regulars being LGBT. The CW, however, has taken a step backward. After having 3 percent of its regular primetime characters identify as LGBT at the beginning of last season, the network no longer has any regular LGBT characters (recurring guest stars not included).

Elsewhere, in the world of cable, the number of regular LGBT characters is also on the rise. Last year, there were 42 characters, a number that has increased to 64, with recurring characters also increasing from 24 to 41. Once again this year, HBO is the most inclusive network on cable television with 15 regular or recurring characters expected.

However, none of the regular characters announced so far on cable television are transgender, and only one of the recurring characters is a transgender man. Additionally, none of the regular characters on scripted primetime broadcast television are transgender.

The study also found that women continue to lose visibility on broadcast primetime, making up 40 percent of series regulars, down from 43 percent last year and 45 percent the year before. Ethnic and racial diversity on primetime has improved for some, with 13 percent of characters being black, which is up 2 percent from last year. Eight percent are Latino, compared to 5 percent last year, and 4 percent are Asian-Pacific, a drop from last year’s 6 percent. Finally, 2 percent of characters are counted as multi-racial, which remains steady.

One of the largest discrepancies in representation remains the Latino community, which the most recent U.S. census, conducted in 2010, says makes up 16 percent of the U.S. population.

The study also looked at people with disabilities, finding that 1.4 percent of series regulars have disabilities, a yearly increase with each broadcast network including at least one regular character with a disability.

For more information, check out the “Where We Are On TV” study on GLAAD’s website.

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