LGBTQ+ representation on broadcast television reached an all-time high during the 2021-2022 season, according to GLAAD’s annual Where We Are on TV report.
According to the media advocacy organization, 11.9% of series regular characters this programming season are LGBTQ+, an increase of 2.8% from last year and a record-high in television history. This year’s study found that of the 775 series regular characters who have appeared or will appear on scripted programming between June 1, 2021, and May 31, 2022, 92 characters are LGBTQ+. GLAAD counted an additional 49 LGBTQ+ recurring characters, making a total of 141 LGBTQ+ characters on broadcast.
This year, there are 42 regular and recurring transgender characters across broadcast, cable and streaming, up from 29 last year. These characters (20 trans women, 14 trans men and eight nonbinary trans people) appear in 25 dramas and 11 comedies. GLAAD notes that there are an additional 17 nonbinary characters who are not trans.
On the streaming side, GLAAD expanded its report this year to include not only Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, but also Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Peacock and Paramount Plus. Among scripted programs on those eight platforms, GLAAD counted 245 LGBTQ+ series regular characters and 113 LGBTQ+ recurring characters.
For the first time in the Where We Are on TV report’s history, lesbian characters made up the majority of LGBTQ+ broadcast characters at 40% (56 characters), up six points from last season. Gay men comprise 35% (49 characters), a decrease of five points from last year, while bisexual representation increased by one point to 19% (27 characters).
The report also reveals that racial diversity of LGBTQ+ characters increased on broadcast and streaming but decreased on cable. At 58%, LGBTQ+ people of color outweigh white LGBTQ+ people on broadcast. Representation of LGBTQ+ people of color increased to 49% on streaming, nearing GLAAD’s benchmark that all platforms ensure that at least half of LGBTQ+ characters are also people of color.
While last year marked three characters across platforms living with HIV (all of whom appeared on FX’s “Pose”), GLAAD counted only two this year: Michael in Netflix’s “Dear White People” and Sai in NBC’s “Ordinary Joe.”
Read the full report here.