After a record-setting year, overall LGBTQ+ representation was down on US television during the 2022-23 season.
GLAAD’s annual ‘Where We Are on TV’ report tracks the number of LGBTQ+ regular and recurring characters on scripted primetime broadcast, scripted primetime cable and scripted series on the eight major streaming platforms (Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Peacock and Paramount+).
This year’s edition, which was released on 21 March and is its 18th overall, covers shows that premiered or are expected to return from 1 June 2022 to 31 May 2023.
There were a total of 596 regular and recurring LGBTQ+ characters across broadcast, cable and streaming, marking a decrease of 6.44 per cent from the previous year’s 637 characters.
GLAAD counted 101 LGBTQ+ characters on broadcast, 139 LGBTQ on cable and 356 LGBTQ+ on the aforementioned streaming platforms.
The report also highlighted that much of the LGBTQ+ representation (24 per cent) exists on series that have been cancelled or are in their final seasons.
In addition to this, 35 characters will not return due to a series being a miniseries or anthology which changes cast/characters with each instalment.
Despite this, there were positives when it came to racial diversity, as, for the first time in the report’s history, streaming platforms featured the majority of LGBTQ+ people of colour (53 per cent overall).
In total, 51 per cent (304) of LGBTQ+ characters were people of colour.
GLAAD also found that, of the 596 LGBTQ+ characters counted, 32 were transgender (16 trans women, 11 trans men and five trans non-binary).
Eight LGBTQ+ characters were living with HIV, marking an increase from 2021-22’s study – though none of these are set to return in the upcoming television season.
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“We have seen with shows like The Last of Us, Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy, and more, that when networks and streamers put their full brand influence into LGBTQ-inclusive shows, our stories are successful critically and commercially,” said GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis.
“As the media landscape continues to grow and change, it is imperative that these companies stand behind the excellent LGBTQ storytelling their creative teams are telling, so these series are able to more deeply explore the lives and stories of characters audiences have come to love.
“With attacks on the LGBTQ community in political and news spaces, Hollywood has more influence than ever and it’s critical the stories they invest in telling include fair and accurate depictions of LGBTQ people that reflect the humanity of our community.”
You can read the report in full here.