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LGBT characters of colour outnumber white LGBT characters on TV for the first time

According to GLAAD's latest survey found that LGBT representation has increased across the board

By Steve Brown

Words: Steve Brown

The number of LGBT characters of colour on TV outnumber the white LGBT characters for the first time.

According to a new survey from GLAAD in their latest ‘Where We Are on TV’ report, they found that 50 per cent of LGBT+ characters are people of colour while 49 per cent are white, for the first time in TV history.

In the past year, LGBT+ representation has increased for bisexuals (117 from 93), transgender (26 from 16) and HIV-positive which has gone from two to seven.

The study also found a record-setting 8.8 per cent of all TV series regulars are LGBT – and increase from last year’s amount (6.4 per cent).

The majority of LGBT+ characters on streaming sites were found on Netflix while FX had the most LGBT+ diversity on satellite TV.

There are around 208 LGBT+ characters on satellite while there are 112 on streaming services, which is nearly double last year’s count of 65.

Sarah Kate Ellis, of GLAAD, said: “With anti-LGBT+ policies being debated here and abroad, the stories and characters on television are more critical than ever before to build understanding and acceptance of LGBT+ people.

“Not only do stories that explore the rich lives and identities of LGBT+ people move the needle forward culturally, but they pay off in ratings – shows like Will & Grace, Supergirl, Empire and How to Get Away with Murder all attract millions of viewers weekly and demonstrate that audiences are hungry for new stories and perspectives.”

“This year’s ‘Where We Are on TV’ report has shown important progress towards a media landscape that is LGBTQ-inclusive and portrays the community in a fair and accurate way,” added Megan Townsend, director of entertainment research and analysis at GLAAD.

“This year we noted two history-making television moments: the premiere of FX’s Pose, which features the largest number of transgender series regular characters on a scripted US series ever, and this fall the CW’s Supergirl introduced audiences to TV’s first transgender superhero when Nicole Maines made her debut as Dreamer/Nia Nal.

“This is all part of a welcome increase in television telling ground-breaking stories featuring characters whose identities have long been left off screen.”