GLAAD: Fox Takes Lead With LGBT Characters

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Fox has overtaken ABC as the broadcast network that is most inclusive when it comes to regular lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) characters.

According to GLAAD’s 16th annual “Where We Are On TV” report, Fox features eight series regular LGBT characters (out of 117 total) in the new TV season — up from the network’s tally of zero back in 2007. (Of note, the report counts Glee‘s Brittany as bi, while three of the eight LGBTs appear within Fox’s “Animation Domination” line-up.)

GLAAD Report: ABC Family Scores ‘Excellent’ Grade, CBS Improves But Still Last Among Nets

Dropping from 7.2 percent LGBT representation in 2010 to 3.4 percent, ABC ceded the top spot for the first time in six years, in part due to the cancellation of Brothers & Sisters. NBC and The CW also showed year-to-year declines, while CBS landed in last place for a fourth consecutive year. (The Eye has one LGBT character — The Good Wife‘s Kalinda — out of 134 total series regulars, but, GLAAD notes, has several recurring LGBT characters.)

Across all of broadcast TV, LGBT representation is down year-over-year, from 3.9 to 2.9 percent (or 19 out of 647 regular characters). That said, “Some of the most popular shows with critics and viewers, such as Glee, True Blood and The Good Wife, weave storylines about gay and lesbian characters into the fabric of the show,” GLAAD acting president Mike Thompson noted in a statement. “Whether it’s the growing household of Mitchell and Cameron on Modern Family or the recent wedding of Callie and Arizona on Grey’s Anatomy, Americans expect to see the diversity of our country represented in their favorite programs and that includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.”

30 Rock and True Blood Honored at 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards

Among the major cable outlets, which as a whole also showed a decline, HBO leads the pack with 11 total LGBT charcters, seven of which are series regulars.

An interactive list of regular and recurring LGBT characters noted in the GLAAD report can be found here.



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Comments (29)

  • 19 out of 647 is not representative of the GLBT population at all really, saying that, on shows where GLBT characters are, topics are dealt with, mostly, in a natural and right way.

    Comment by Matt – September 28, 2011 10:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • There probably should be more but the majority of people are straight (I say that as a gay man so don’t hate) and television is always going to reflect that. I don’t think every show needs a gay character for the sake of having one but it certainly doesn’t hurt to represent different communities. Also, of course Fox won, it’s home to the gayest show on the planet (again, I’m a die-hard Gleek so don’t hate).

      Comment by Captain – September 28, 2011 01:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I’m totally with you on the “most people are hetero” front. Unfortunately, last time I checked, about 10% of people were LGBT. 10% of 647 is 65, which is a LONG way from 19. Like, three times, and then some.

        Comment by Haley – September 30, 2011 07:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • On that list I noticed that they state the ethnicities of every character. Has it ever been mentioned on Glee that Blaine is supposed to be white? Because Darren Criss is half filipino (and runs around wearing ‘hapa’ shirts and such, so it’s not like he never mentions it). I mean, if Blaine is supposed to be white, that’s cool. I just don’t think it has ever specifically been mentioned. Anyway. That’s a thing I noticed. Not that it’s in any way important lol.

    In general, representation has gotten better over the years, with more complex and diverse LGBT characters on TV than ever before – but there is still a long way to go. I think we can always use more LGBT parent characters, older LBGTs or more LGBTs of color. But we’re definitely getting there =)

    Comment by Rainy – September 28, 2011 10:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • in season 2 when rachel is imagining a relationship with blaine she talks about having eurasian babies. it isn’t a direct comment but i think that indicates that blaine is the same ethnicity as darren criss.

      Comment by murley – September 28, 2011 11:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • That’s what I was going to say. But I’m pretty sure she is directly referring to Blaine. I believe the quote is something like “Who cares about you buddy? I may get a new boyfriend out of this who can keep up with me vocally and in the future give me vaguely eurasian looking children.” She doesn;t mention his name in the quote but given the context of what they’re talking about (Rachel kissing Blaine) I’m pretty sure she was referring to him.

        Comment by Captain – September 28, 2011 01:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • It was a reference to Blaine, but it was one of those quick in-jokes, so I don’t think it was intended to mean anything. Both in-show and in the publicity, Blaine is treated like he’s white, so I don’t think he’s supposed to have Darren’s ethnicity (similarly, Naya Rivera is mixed-race but Santana seems to be pure Hispanic).

          Comment by SC – September 29, 2011 12:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Brittany on Glee is bisexual? Has that ever really been said?
    Why is only the girl listed on the Playboy Club? What about her “husband” on the show?
    What about Herbert from Family Guy for recurring character? Or the Senator from the Office?

    Comment by Mark – September 28, 2011 10:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Alice’s husband on The Playboy Club is listed under recurring characters.

      And yeah, I think some of these characters are a bit of a stretch. Roger from American Dad as bisexual? I was under the impression he didn’t really have a gender.

      Comment by r0ckmypants – September 28, 2011 11:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The last episode of Glee, brittany said it herself. she’s a “bi-corn” not a unicorn

      Comment by fiona – September 28, 2011 11:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • She’s used “bi-[something]” to refer to herself twice (“bicurious” the first time, in the same sentence where she calls Santana “Lebanese”; “bicorn” the second time after an episode where “unicorn” is constantly used to mean “gay”). Off-camera the writers have talked about Brittany as label-less.

      But basically, she has sex with and romantic feelings for both girls and boys, so in this metric calling her bisexual seems fair.

      Comment by SC – September 29, 2011 12:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Despite fewer comments, it’s a relief how much more civilized the message boards on TvLine are compared to, say, EW. Especially with stories like this, I’m so used to people bitching about GLAAD and how they force an agenda on everything. I’m happy that the reports reinforces the integration of these characters into shows, though. There’s nothing worse (for any minority character) than having someone randomly inserted because they needed an “X” person. Many shows seem to be doing better to actually give these characters stories and depth, but I do wish we’d continue to see more diversity (in general, not just gays). With that said, I’m excited for (SPOILER) Alicia’s brother to get a boyfriend/lover on The Good Wife this year

    Comment by Joe – September 28, 2011 11:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • … I think you jinxed it.

      Comment by Josh – September 28, 2011 02:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • When I meet people in real life, I don’t care what their orientation is so why would I care on TV. Just more propaganda from a group of people that feel they need special treatment and attention.

    And now animated, non-existent characters can be counted as gay? A bisexual animated alien? Come on. I agree with the comment about inserting gay characters just to say they are gay. The new guy on Warehouse 13. There was nothing to his story other than “hey we have a gay character on our show.” Ok, but what does it have to do with anything on the show???

    Comment by AJ – September 28, 2011 11:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • When I meet people in real life, I don’t care what their gender is so why would I care on TV. Just more propaganda from a group of people that feel they need special treatment and attention.

      And now animated, non-existent characters can be counted as male, female, both or neither? A genderless animated alien? Come on.

      Comment by Let's turn things around – September 28, 2011 01:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You don’t believe what you’re saying. If you did, you’d take a stand against any character ever saying anything that would betray their sexual orientation, which would remove every heterosexual romantic arc in every story ever, including Snow White, Romeo and Juliet, and Superman. Not to mention Cheers, Happy Days, and I Love Lucy. And the X-Files and Star Trek. Etc. Etc. Etc.

        And that’s not even focusing on real life: “Don’t tell me that you’re married! Who you’re attracted to is your business!”

        It’s nonsense. People who say this really mean “I don’t want to know if you’re gay, because it makes me uncomfortable, but I don’t have any problem with people discussing being straight.” Except that it makes your uncomfortable and get over it. That’s what I did…

        …when I was 12.

        Comment by Drew Melbourne – September 29, 2011 05:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m really disappointed that the CW, a youth-friendly network, doesn’t really have any gay characters to speak of. It’s especially sad considering Kevin Williamson, creator of The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle, is openly gay. COME. ON!!!

    Comment by Sivat – September 28, 2011 12:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You’re so right! If the CW had any good series, i would be outraged by this!

      Comment by Josh – September 28, 2011 01:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Hello?? Teddy from 90210? (irrespective of the fact that he is not series regular anymore) but still he had a good storyline. and last time i checked 90210 was on CW!

      Comment by Denver – September 28, 2011 03:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • GLAAD must have A LOT of time on their hands.

    The entire organization is an embarrassment to productive, everyday folks who HAPPEN to be gay.

    Are we glad when we get a “Will & Grace”? Of course … but living in the real world, we understand MOST people are NOT gay.

    GLAAD — get a life.

    Comment by Danny – September 28, 2011 01:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • According to television a few years ago, gay people didn’t exist.

      According to television now, gay people barely exist.

      Comment by Josh – September 28, 2011 01:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • well said, Josh. Representation is relevant, even “just” on TV. Thank you, GLAAD, for keeping the networks accountable since no one else appears to.

        Comment by lipsticksocialism – September 29, 2011 06:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • they should be based on the number of SHOWS with gay characters, not the number of characters. Glee will have santana, brittany, karofsky, curt, blaine, and the new warbler this season – so SIX in one show and by all accounts the other 3 are from one other show.

    Comment by Laura – September 28, 2011 07:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Most people aren’t straight.

    All people aren’t anything but people.

    Sexual orientation is a joke.

    Comment by Midori – September 28, 2011 08:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ok but who’s representing all the asexuals?

    Comment by Jesse – September 29, 2011 02:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory?

      Comment by Bernie – September 29, 2011 05:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Christian television programming?

      Comment by Josh – September 29, 2011 07:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have a question about the figures which may not be answerable here but nonetheless I ask: when you say Fox has 8/117 LGBT series regular characters, are the other 109 specifically straight or is everyone assumed straight unless they are specifically stated to be LGBT? It strikes me that there are some series regulars the sexual orientation of whom is not specified.

    Comment by Inigo – September 29, 2011 02:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • There are probably some characters whose orientation isn’t specified, but unless a character is specifically identified as gay they’re 99.9% of the time meant to be straight.

    Comment by SC – September 29, 2011 03:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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