You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

GLAAD Urges TV Industry to Increase LGBTQ Representation to 20% by 2025

With the percentage of LGBTQ series regulars reaching a record high in the current television season, GLAAD is now urging the TV industry to increase its LGBTQ representation to 20% by 2025. And according to the panelists discussing the result of the media advocacy group’s annual TV report at United Talent Agency on Thursday, increasing the amount of on-screen inclusion is a matter of creating more off-screen inclusion as well.

“I’ve been seeing a lot more nuance in storytelling, especially around the trans and trans-masculine characters I’ve been able to see on TV,” said “9-1-1: Lone Star” actor Brian Michael Smith, who is trans. “We’ve come a way since the tipping point … and I feel like a lot of that has to do with not having people write for queer characters, but having queer people write in the room.”

The panel, moderated by Deadline reporter Dino-Ray Ramos, included Smith, “One Day at a Time” showrunner Gloria Calderon Kellett, “Carol’s Second Act” actor Sabrina Jalees, “Supergirl” actor Nicole Maines, UTA television agent Jacob Fenton, and GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

“I think it’s really about empowering queer voices,” said Calderon Kellett. “I know that the story lines on our show are made excellent because we have a largely queer staff, and I think that it is lifting up those voices and making sure that they’re learning the process of showrunning, which is really important to [co-showrunner] Mike Royce on our show.”

The hope, she said, is that her show’s staff writers will become showrunners themselves, noting that she “had to create a TV show to see myself on TV.”

Jalees, whose background is in stand-up comedy, said she’s been in writers’ rooms where she “felt like the diversity hire,” and conversely been in rooms where she felt like she was there because she had a story to tell. Building off of the realism of real-life experiences is “what brings [LGBTQ} stories to 100% of the demo,” she said.

“Big Mouth” co-creator Nick Kroll and others on the show, for instance, have a genuine desire to be inclusive of the community, added Jalees, who has also served as a writer on the Netflix animated series.

“They realize that they’re building a world around them that their kids are going to see on TV, that it makes a huge, huge impact,” she said.

GLAAD, which broke down in its annual report on the state of LGBTQ representation on the small screen, is now calling upon the industry to ensure that half of all LGBTQ characters are people of color.

Smith is “over the moon” about playing a black, trans, out, real-life hero as a first responder on Fox’s “9-1-1: Lone Star,” he said, and feels an “incredible responsibility” for the role.

And for many viewers across America, watching Smith as a first responder, Jalees as a doctor or Maines as a superhero may be their introduction to either a character or an actor from the LGBTQ community. Maines, the first trans superhero on television, said what’s been most “shocking” to her is the support she’s received from “Supergirl” fans outside the LGBTQ community.

“Its really heartening for me to see that our characters are resonating with people outside the community,” she said. “I think that’s really powerful and speaks to how, as a society, we’ve come a long way.”

More TV

  • Mira Sorvino Rory Culkin

    TV News Roundup: Mira Sorvino, Rory Culkin Join Quibi Series 'Emma'

    In today’s TV news roundup, Quibi announces new cast members for horror series “Emma” and Nickelodeon renews “Blue’s Clues and You!”  CASTINGS Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino and Rory Culkin have been cast in supporting roles in Quibi’s latest horror series “Emma.” The two are joined by Hannah Murray (“Game of Thrones”) and Michael Gaston (“Man [...]

  • Emilia Clarke

    Emilia Clarke Says She's Been Pressured to Do Nude Scenes After 'Game of Thrones'

    Emilia Clarke revealed that she’s been pressured to do nude scenes on projects following her role as the occasionally nude Daenerys Targaryen on “Game of Thrones.” Now a seasoned actor, Clarke is quick to shut down producers who won’t respect her boundaries. “I’m a lot savvier with what I’m comfortable with, and what I am [...]

  • CBS Makes Streaming News Available to

    CBS Makes Streaming News Available to Affiliates

    Any news junkie in need of a live-Information fix can toggle on to any number of streaming news outlets. Now, TV stations affiliated with CBS can do the same. CBS News told affiliates in a memo Tuesday that it would allow them to use live coverage from its CBSN streaming-video hub to keep news events [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

    The Star of 'The Mandalorian:' Baby Yoda

    SPOILER ALERT: This story contains spoilers for the first two episodes of “The Mandalorian,” if wish to be surprised you do, only annoyance will you find.  BB-8 and the Ewoks can step aside with the latest expansion of the “Star Wars” universe with Disney Plus’s “The Mandalorian.” There’s a new addition to the long list [...]

  • Vikings S4 Finale

    'Vikings' Sequel Series Set at Netflix From Michael Hirst, Jeb Stuart

    Fans of the History series “Vikings” rejoice! Netflix has ordered the follow up series titled “Vikings: Valhalla,” which will be set 100 years after the conclusion of the original show. The sixth and final season of “Vikings” on History is set to debut on Dec. 4. “Valhalla” will be executive produced by “Vikings” creator Michael [...]

  • Olympics

    NBCUniversal Sets Molly Solomon to Oversee Olympics Production, Replacing Jim Bell

    NBC’s Tokyo Olympics has a new contestant. Molly Solomon, a veteran sports producer who has been with NBC since 1990, has been tapped as the new executive producer of NBCUniversal’s Olympics broadcast, one of the most important production jobs at the Comcast-owned media conglomerate. She begins her new role immediately, with just months to go [...]

  • Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci Join Showtime

    Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci Join Showtime 'Yellowjackets' Pilot

    Showtime’s “Yellowjackets” pilot is rounding out its cast. The network has announced that “Camping” star Juliette Lewis and original “Addams Family” actor Christina Ricci have boarded the project as series regulars, joining already announced cast members Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress and Jasmin Savoy Brown. “Yellowjackets” tells the story of a team of talented high school [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content