• The Tribeca TV Festival exclusive celebration for Will & Grace at Cinepolis Chelsea on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Getty Images)
"Television is a critical home for LGBTQ stories and representation matters more than ever."
By
Michaela Morgan

10 Nov 2017 - 2:32 PM  UPDATED 10 Nov 2017 - 2:32 PM

For 22 years, GLAAD has released its ‘Where We Are On TV’ report—a comprehensive assessment of the number of LGBTQ characters who appear on prime time TV shows in the United States. 

Out of 901 regularly appearing characters on broadcast TV, 58 (6.4 per cent) were counted as LGBTQ with an additional 28 recurring LGBTQ characters—a record high.  

The number of LGBTQ characters on cable TV increased from last year’s count of 92 to 103 and across streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon there was a total of 70 characters who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. 

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For the first time, the report also counted non-binary and asexual characters who were featured on shows including Shadowhunters and Bojack Horseman.

But while representation is at an all time high—there is still a lack of queer people of colour on screens with white, cisgender men making up 62 per cent of LGBTQ characters on broadcast TV (77 per cent on streaming services and 64 per cent on cable). 

There were 17 trans characters across all platforms and just two characters who are HIV positive. 

The network with the most LGBTQ character was the CW (11 per cent) followed by FOX (10 per cent), NBC (5.3 per cent), ABC (5 per cent) and CBS (4.2 per cent). 

GLAAD’s President and CEO— Sarah Kate Ellis– said LGBTQ representation was more important than ever, pointing to the Trump administration’s record on LGBTQ rights. 

“As LGBTQ acceptance in government and the broader American culture reverses course, television is a critical home for LGBTQ stories and representation matters more than ever,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. 

“At a time when the Trump administration is trying to render LGBTQ people invisible, representing LGBTQ people in all of our diversity in scripted TV programs is an essential counterbalance that gives LGBTQ people stories to relate to and moves the broader public to support LGBTQ people and families.” 

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