US: The number of LGBT characters on TV has increased, GLAAD study finds

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The number of gay and bisexual characters in the upcoming US television season, including cable TV, is on the rise, according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

The 17th, and latest edition of the “Where We Are On TV” study, released annually, came out yesterday and revealed that, out of 701 regular characters, from 97 scripted TV programmes, 31 were LGBT characters.

“It is vital for networks to weave complex and diverse story lines of LGBT people in the different programs they air,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.

“More and more Americans have come to accept their LGBT family members, friends, co-workers and peers, and as audiences tune into their favorite programs, they expect to see the same diversity of people they encounter in their daily lives.”

The network with the highest number of LGBT characters was ABC, which showed 10 out of 194 regular characters, or 5.2%, identified as LGBT.

Fox, last year’s leader, ranked second, with six LGBT characters out of 118, or 5.1%, and CBS was commended for improving their numbers to 2.8%, or four out of 142 characters being LGBT, a dramatic increase from 0.7% last year.

The study referred to “an authentic and conscious effort by CBS to improve its diversity.”

HBO drama, True Blood, remained the most inclusive cable series, as it features six LGBT characters. Anna Paquin, a star of the show, recently spoke out about the issues she faces in being openly bisexual, but being married to her male co-star, Stephen Moyer.

“Mainstream” Cable programming overall had increased in the number of LGBT characters, which rose from 29 last season to 35 in the upcoming one.

Cable networks mentioned inlcluded HBO, FX, Adult Swim, ABC Family, MTV, Syfy and TeenNick, but Showtime led in that category with 12 LGBT characters.

Male characters outweigh females 64 to 36 %, which includes Glee’s trans character, Unique.

Back in August, GLAAD released the sixth annual Network Responsibility Index, which included details of networks and shows which accurately reflected the LGBT community through their broadcasting.

The NRI reported that no network achieved a rating of “Excellent”, but that 46 per cent of the Showtime cable network’s  programming was LGBT inclusive.