Once again, television ― rather than film ― is leading the charge when it comes to LGBTQ representation in Hollywood, a new survey has found.
GLAAD’s 2019 “Where We Are on TV” report, released Thursday, found that the number of regularly seen LGBTQ characters on primetime broadcast TV hit an all time high of 10.2%, or 90 out of 879 total characters, this season. That figure marked a 1.4 percentage-point increase over 2018, slightly surpassing the 10% goal GLAAD had envisioned for networks by 2020.
“Last year, GLAAD called on the television industry to increase the number of LGBTQ characters and more accurately reflect the world we live in, and they responded by exceeding this challenge,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in an email statement. “At a time when the cultural climate is growing increasingly divisive, increased representation of LGBTQ stories and characters on television is especially critical to advance LGBTQ acceptance.”
The report singled out a number of high-profile series, including the CW’s “Batwoman,” Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek” and FX’s “Pose” for making particularly strong strides in LGBTQ representation.
Meanwhile, streaming networks Netflix, Amazon and Hulu accounted for 153 LGBTQ characters. Special praise was given to Netflix for having the broadest range of LGBTQ representation across its programming, which includes such diverse shows as “The Politician” and “Orange Is the New Black.”
Though Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q” and the Disney+ series “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” will debut later this year, researchers expressed high hopes for both of those programs given the LGBTQ characters they will add to next year’s tally.
In her introduction to the report, Ellis offered networks a new challenge for 2025: to ensure that 20% of all series-regular characters on primetime TV are LGBTQ, and that half of those are people of color.
The results of the 2019 “Where We Are on TV” report mark a sharp contrast to those of GLAAD’s similar movie-focused survey.
Released in May, the 2019 Studio Responsibility Index found that the number of gay and bisexual characters had increased across mainstream films, but that transgender characters were completely absent for the second year in a row.
Check out GLAAD’s full 2019 “Where We Are on TV” report here.