Mission accomplished? GLAAD discontinues report on TV’s LGBT characters

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Media charity GLAAD has announced it will no longer publish an annual report monitoring the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBT representation on TV.

The charity this week published its ninth annual Network Responsibility Index, which identifies TV networks who have excelled at representing LGBT people, storylines and characters, as well as those who have failed to do so.

However, as the report enters its ninth year, nearly all US TV networks are ranked ‘adequate’ or above – with the FOX network becoming the first major broadcaster to be ranked ‘excellent’

The charity confirmed that its new report will also be the last.

GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis said: “The ninth edition of the NRI marks the first time in the report’s history that a major broadcast network – FOX – received an ‘Excellent’ as a grade.

“This milestone highlights real change across the media landscape – especially considering that the network received a ‘Failing’ grade in the NRI’s first two editions.”

She added: “GLAAD’s Network Responsibility Index has helped reshape the television landscape, inspiring LGBT characters and storylines that move acceptance forward.

“As representations of LGBT people in the media continue to rise in number, pushing television networks to make those representations more diverse is more crucial than ever. This requires a different set of tools than the NRI provides, and as such GLAAD will shift focus to its annual TV diversity and transgender reports.”

The organisation will now focus on its annual Where We Are On TV Report – which focuses more on the diversity of LGBT images.

Monitoring the original prime-time programming of major network, the final NRI awarded the grades:
Excellent: ABC Family and FOX
Good: ABC, CW, FX, HBO, MTV, Showtime
Adequate: CBS, NBC, TLC, TNT, USA
Failing: A&E, History

ABC Family, which was ranked excellent alongside FOX, hit a record high with 74% of original programming including LGBT people or characters – of whom 79% were lesbians and 49% were people of colour. It also featured a transgender character played by a transgender actor.

Meanwhile, FOX won praise for representing LGBT people of colour on hit shows including Empire and Gotham.