In terms of equal representation on TV, there's still a long way to go. But the news isn't all doom and gloom — a new report from GLAAD predicts that the 2017-2018 TV season will include record numbers of LGBTQ TV characters.
The organization's "Where We Are on TV" report predicts that during the current TV season, 6.4% of series regular roles will be LGBTQ characters.
In terms of broadcast TV, The CW fared best for LGBTQ representation, with 11% of its characters falling into the category. 10 percent of Fox characters, 5.3% of NBC characters, 5% of ABC characters, and 4.2% of CBS characters were defined as LGBTQ by GLAAD. Those figures were higher on cable TV, with the highest percentage of LGBTQ characters among cable networks appearing on Freeform.
GLAAD notes that in both broadcast TV and cable shows, the majority of LGBTQ characters are gay men. Still, there are a number of high-profile shows that offer other perspectives into sexuality. On Freeform, The Bold Type has been praised for its depiction of Kat's (Aisha Dee) sexual journey. The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend featured an entire song dedicated to myths about bisexuality. And on ABC, How to Get Away with Murder's Annalise Keating has been in meaningful relationships with both men and women.
Plus, GLAAD points out, this is the first time it's been able to include asexual and non-binary characters. "While these identities have been depicted on screen before, those characters were often relegated to one-off episodes, which did not allow for nuanced exploration," GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis explains in the report's introduction. The report cites Shadowhunters' Raphael Santiago and Degrassi: Next Class's Todd as examples of asexual characters on TV.
GLAAD also encouraged The CW to explore Jughead's asexuality on Riverdale, as the character is asexual in the Archie comics.
"While the Jughead character is asexual in the Archie comics, The CW’s Archie series Riverdale is not yet telling this story," the report states. "GLAAD would like to see the series address this moving forward, as the ace community remains nearly invisible in media."
There are still plenty more voices we need to hear in TV shows, but it's nice to hear there's progress on the current TV landscape. You can read the full GLAAD report here.
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