GLAAD: TV's LGBT Characters at All-Time High

The New NormalThanks in part to series like NBC’s The New Normal and CBS’ Partners, broadcast TV this season will feature the highest percentage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters ever recorded.

GLAAD’s annual “Where We Are on TV” report, released Friday, showed that 4.4 percent of broadcast series regular characters will be LGBT this season, up from 2.9 percent in 2011. That number is the highest the group has seen in the 17 years it has tracked TV, and a far cry from 1.1 percent registered in 2007.

The number of LGBT characters on cable series rose, as well.

ABC reclaimed its spot as the most inclusive broadcast network, with LGBT characters on Revenge, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and the upcoming Mistresses. Fox’s Glee, meanwhile, was named the most inclusive show on TV with six LGBT regular or recurring characters; among cable series, True Blood and its six LGBT characters claims that distinction.

The GLAAD report, which forecasts the expected presence of LGBT characters in the season ahead, differs from the organization’s annual Network Responsibility Index, which measures the quantity and quality of LGBT impressions made on TV.

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48 Comments
  1. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    It’s too bad TV is used as a tool to promote a particular party’s political agenda.

    • Zak says:

      Your comment is kind of vague so I’m not sure what exactly your issue is, but TV is used as a distraction and satire of every day life. I would say it’s less a political agenda and more of a social agenda. At least treating everyone as equals shouldn’t be considered political.

    • Alex says:

      You know what is amusing? I was just reading the article they linked (Network Responsibility Index), and on that article you were the first one to react too, with the same sort of inane comment. You do realize that you’re protesting too much, right?
      I guess someone is deeply stuck in Narnia at the moment… Yeah, I remember how that feels. Don’t worry honey, we eventually all come to terms with our sexuality at some point. It’s ok. It gets better, like they say.
      Awwww, come here *big fat rainbows, cotton candy and unicorns gay hug just for you*

    • Keenan says:

      I just knew the 1st comment would be from a blithering idiot!

    • mia says:

      I forget, since when was human rights a “political agenda”? Oh right, since the extreme right wing nutballs want to eradicate everyone whose not like them.

    • Alex says:

      The “agenda” of equal rights, inclusiveness and respect for all is a cause for which all decent people fight. True, some unfortunate people still find it unfortunate that gays are portrayed on television, that African Americans can ride at the front of the bus, and that Jews can be served in “Christian” establishments, but the foes of equal rights are a dying breed, and on the wrong side of history. And that’s how it should be.

    • Rock Golf says:

      Chuck Finlay is absolutely correct!
      I therefore fully expect him to endorse removing FOX News from the air.

    • DoctorWhoFanatic! says:

      I didn’t realize that LGBT was a political party.

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      Oh I see I have upset all the liberals here. Mission accomplished and proof positive that they want their agenda on everyone’s tv.

      • Alex says:

        Don’t worry, Chuckie. You haven’t “upset” anyone. Our acknowledging your ignorance and deviant bigotry is only done out of love. If we didn’t point out your failures, how else would you be able to work on them, and hope to get well? No need to thank us. As long as you learn, that’s what’s important.

  2. Tommy says:

    Glee doesn’t deserve any props for LGBTQ representation after the botched “coming out” that was I Kissed A Girl and the disgustingly dropped Karofsky storyline.

    • Benn says:

      Get over it. The episode was poor but to claim it doesn’t deserve recognition is ridiculous. Karofsky was always a catalyst for Kurt’s story and he served that purpose as well as a bit of closure that his character was never garunteed. Stop being bitter.

  3. thenell871 says:

    The L and the G are pretty well covered these days, but there’s a distinct lack of the B and T. Apart from Carmelita in Dirty Sexy Money, I can’t think of a single recent trans character.

    • CC says:

      Kalinda from The Good Wife, Nolan from Revenge, Brittany from Glee, Callie from Grey’s Anatomy all represent the B. T characters are indeed harder to find.

      • Cte says:

        Unique on Glee is T

        • Rock Golf says:

          T, i thought referred to transgender, not transvestite. Unique is the latter. The only transgender character I can think of at all was Chandler’s dad on Friends, as played by Kathleen Turner.

          • veronica says:

            In the first episode Unique was in she stated that she identified as female. Transgendered. Also, Alexis on Ugly Betty was transgendered. And I was always under the impression that the trans included everyone with some kind of trans identity.

    • Kate says:

      Degrassi has a trans character (Adam) and Ugly Betty did too.

    • James says:

      Ethinic LGBT are seriously under represented as well. There is a serious lack of ethinc diversity in Modern, Family, The New Normal, Partners, all of Logo (except alex mapa and rupauls drag race). I think Melrose Place, I mean The LA Complex should be recognized for having not only LGBT but also ethnic LGBT.

    • Gwen says:

      Kalinda is definitely bi. Also, not as well known to mainstream US audiences but Torchwood’s Capt. Jack is considered as “omnisexual”

  4. Conor says:

    I misread this and thought that it would be a top-LGBT character list. i was hoping for Willow/Tara to be at the top.

  5. Nellius says:

    The L and the G are pretty well-covered these days, but I feel the B and the T are largely ignored. The only two Bi characters I can think of at the moment are Callie on Grey’s and Captain Jack Harkness, and the only Trans character I can think of at all is Carmelita from Dirty Sexy money

    • jj says:

      you’re right, they are underrepresented. Although I think Brittany from Glee falls under bi, right? And apparently, Nolan on Revenge is bi not gay.

    • Zak says:

      I think Brittany from Glee is Bi, but I could be wrong I skipped most of last season. I think the reason B&T aren’t up their is people tend to only like absolutes and not something that can be somewhat class as middle ground. First it was black’s than interracial marriages now it’s people who are gay, in a few years once this social injustices is tackled we will move on to something else. We seem to be only able to accept one thing at a time.

      • mco says:

        Even if it’s baby step, it’s steps in the right direction. As I always say, you can’t fight centuries of discriminations and prejudice with only an handful of years. IMHO, it’s better this way, no need to shock people with everything all at once when they will reject everything altogether. It’s better to easy them with one thing at a time. It’s sad that it had to happen this way, it’s a long process, but in the long run, I think it will have a better and lasting impact to fight social injustices for all. (Again, that’s my own opinion, not a fact)

        • Dineen says:

          I Totally agree with you. It takes time and we still have a LONG WAY TO GO but like you said, it will be beneficial in the long run.

    • Alex says:

      Callie (Grey’s Anatomy), Kalinda (The Good Wife), Maya (Pretty Little Liars), Adrianna (90210), Angela (Bones), Brittany (Glee), Angela (Boardwalk Empire), Dr O’Hara (can’t remember her first name, Nurse Jackie), Tara (True Blood), Lucretia (Spartacus)… and the list could go on with other shows and also minor characters I presume.

  6. rhi says:

    As for the T, Degrassi has a transgender character (Adam).

  7. Bubb Rubb & Lil' Sis (Woo Woo) says:

    But but but… this vengeful and violence filled testament to the cruelty and ignorance of basic science from nomadic life back in the iron age tells me that the same god that killed all the earths children in a flood, tells me I am also to hate and cast asperserions up the wicked homoSINuals. Its written in the chapter that takes place shortly before the chapter where god kills another city’s worth of children. This book cant possibly be wrong can it? I mean, its on paper and its got gold leaf all over the cover and spine. That usually means “infallable” round these parts.

  8. Art says:

    Baby steps I guess, but we take what we can get. Just a little upset that we DS almost never get main stream representation. Just have to keep hope that one day we will all be equally and fairly represented!

  9. whos LGBT on Scandal??? I cant remember.

  10. never mind it slip my mind, i know now

  11. Sam Scott says:

    (Please delete first post — hit Enter too soon!) I’m just happy that “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” set the mark as the first realistic gay or lesbian relationship on TV (for a fantasy show)! :) Still, it’s worth remembering that the WB would not let Willow and Tara kiss at the beginning. Now, it’s everywhere on shows like “Glee”!

    • veronica says:

      “everywhere” might be pushing it when it comes to Glee. W hile the gay couples have certainly kissed on the show there’s a major quantity difference. Rachel and Finn probably kiss at least once an eisode when they’re together. If not several times an epsiode. Blaine and Kurt dated for a year and a half. They’ve kissed on screen four times. Same with Santana and Brittany. I think other shows are way better about this.

      • Alex says:

        Well, there is also a “quality” difference. Real kisses for the straight parings (and I say painrings, not even couples… random kisses have happened between two characters), mostly pecks for the gay couples. Double standards all the way. You can’t have a good portrayal if you make it obvious that it doesn’t “feel” the same for the LGBT characters. This is part of the representation too.

        • No says:

          Also the fact that when girls kiss, they objectify them and when guys kiss, they make a big deal like as if its more serious.

  12. Amanda says:

    While, I’m glad there are lists showing which shows have LGBTQ characters, I always find this a slippery slop in QUALITY of the show. I don’t want characters to fit the mold to be thrown in just because they want to reach the top of a list and go “look. We’ve got them, too!” Luckily most of the shows at the the top of the list have written their characters in a very organic way. I wish Glee wasn’t there; they’ve done a lot of character erasure particularly with Santana’s story to have a lesbian character. (I will ALWAYS think of her as more pansexual than lesbian as she said it herself in Sexy “She likes boys and girls” and even dreams of shrubs.)

    But hey! Yay for equality and quality!

    • Alex says:

      I disagree. BBefore I fully accepted my sexual orientation, I also went throught this phase (I like boys and I like girls). And here I am, gay as a rainbow. This was just part of my journey, part of my own understanding, not real attraction to the opposite sex. It was just what I was used to because it was all I knew. Santana is not bisexual nor pansexual, she is a lesbian who happened to be confused about her feelings and attraction. We’re not all aware of our orientation at 5 lol.

  13. A says:

    Except for Glee which I don’t even watch, there’s a serious lack of gay men on tv. Lesbians are everywhere though and I think that’s sexist or racist or whatever.

    • mco says:

      Partners, The New Normal, I don’t watch anymore but I know the scrhink in SVU was gay (We never saw him with anyone but it isn’t the focus of the show. But I think it may be the best representation gays ever had on TV. The character was, like many gay, like any other man who happen to be atrracted by man). Jack and Ianto (God Ianto I miss him) in torchwood, glee as you saiid to name a few.
      Alas, whose are too often portrayed with too much clichee. There’s a need of more characters like Wong or The doctor in The New Normal (can’t remember the name sorry). Characters like Kurt or Louis in Partners don’t really represant Gays. At least not in my experience. For most of my LGBT friends you can’t guess their sexual orientation by the way they talk/walk/ or clothes. If L and B are more accuratly represent on TV there’s still lot of work for G and T

      • A says:

        I meant more kissing and having fun scenes. Girls are objectified and shown doing it like as if its nothing, but when we guys do it, oh boy its a huge deal! And we have to show it as seriously as possible! We like to have fun as well, you know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mitch and Cam on Modern Family kiss each other and that undeserving show wins the Emmy every frickin’ year!

        • Alan says:

          mitch and cam do kiss, they didnt for the first season but that was fixed by season 2. in fact their first onscreen kiss was brilliantly done after an episode where cam was annoyed with mitch because he doesnt like to show affection in public, mitch kissed him in the background while something else was going on, they didnt make a big deal of it. they have since been more affectionate with each other

          • A says:

            Yeah ONE measly kiss in 3 years. Awesome! Its not like we gays are so unaffectionate people Shows make lesbians kiss almost once every 2-3 episodes just to titillate viewers!

          • Alan says:

            ok i forgot to specify that they have kissed since then multiple times

  14. Angela says:

    I’m glad to see, slowly but surely, we’re working on making TV look more diverse and becoming more accepting of different kinds of people on television. It may not be perfectly done all the time, we may still have a ways to go, but any step forward is always a good thing.

  15. Lorraine says:

    I’m happy about the LGBT showings on tv, I really think it’s great! It would be nice to see more color on tv though in terms of race, in general and within LGBT.

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