GLAAD: Record Number of LGBTQ Characters on Broadcast TV

A record-high percentage of LGBTQ series regulars will appear in broadcast TV shows during the 2018-19 TV season, while streaming service Netflix and FX featured the most LGBTQ characters across streaming and cable services, according to the annual GLAAD Where We Are On TV report.

FX's 'Pose' 

FX's 'Pose' 

The report, which tracks the number of LGBTQ characters on streaming services as well as cable and broadcast networks for the 2018-19 TV season, found that LGBTQ characters represented 8.8% of all broadcast television series regulars, which topped the previous record of 6.4% set last year. 

Further, the report found that there were equal percentages of male and female LGBTQ characters on broadcast TV shows, and more LGBTQ people of color (50%) featured than white LGBTQ characters (49%).

On cable, GLAAD says that 208 LGBTQ characters appeared on scripted primetime cable shows, an increase from 173 accounted for in last year’s report. Netflix counted the highest number of LGBTQ characters across streaming services, with FX topping all cable networks.

GLAAD pointed to shows like FX’s Pose, Starz’s Vida, CBS’ The Red Line, and the CW’s Charmed and Supergirl for showcasing more LGBTQ characters in leading roles than ever before.

For the 2018-2019 season, there will also be a record-high number of series regulars who are people with disabilities – up to 2.1% from 1.8% the previous year, according to the report.

“This year’s Where We Are on TV report has shown important progress towards a media landscape that is LGBTQ-inclusive and portrays the community in a fair and accurate way,” said Megan Townsend, director of entertainment research and analysis at GLAAD in a statement. “This is all part of a welcome increase in television telling groundbreaking stories featuring characters whose identities have long been left off screen.”

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.