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Primetime’s scripted cable achieves goal of increasing LGBTQ people of color, study finds

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By announcing the results of its annual “Where We Are on TV” report, which assesses the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer characters on television and prime-time streaming services, the advocacy organization GLAAD media revealed Thursday that the performance was being held fairly. broadly stable despite decreases in a few areas.

As for the 2020-2021 season, during which the total number of shows decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic which delayed or stopped many productions, the report states that 9.1% of regular characters of the 70 of 773 series on prime-time television show the LGBTQ spectrum, down from 10.2% last year.

Like last year, gay men make up the majority of LGBTQ characters on TV, cable and streaming, as the CW network reclaims its top spot among broadcast networks offering inclusive portrayal. One of his series, Batwoman, made headlines in 2020 when lead actor Ruby Rose stepped down from her iconic role, in which she was replaced by bisexual actor Javicia Leslie, who will debut at the series premiere on January 17 as the first Black Batwoman. Additional series with LGBTQ ensembles include the CW Super girl and Black Lightningand NBC Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Cable shows with Primetime script were found to have the largest decrease in LGBTQ performances, dropping from 121 to 81 regular characters in the series. This percentage drop was predicted due to COVID-19 and is expected to change when multiple cable emissions return in next year’s report, such as The L word: Generation Q and Euphoria.

On Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, regular and recurring LGBTQ characters from original scripted series have declined, bringing the total to 141 LGBTQ characters (down 12 from last year). Meanwhile, racial diversity among LGBTQ characters on streaming platforms has increased by six percentage points.

Interestingly, nearly one in five LGBTQ characters can be attributed to one of four creative executives: Shonda Rhimes, Greg Berlanti, Lena Waithe, and Ryan Murphy. With their 16 series combined, 17% of all LGBTQ representation, or 62 out of 360 characters, comes from the work of these veterans, which includes shows such as How to escape murder,Pose, Love simon, Chi.

Also of note, the report states that for the first time ever, more than half of LGBTQ characters on scripted prime-time cable TV are people of color, which meets and surpasses the challenge launched last year. by Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. . Before this achievement, only the broadcast had achieved this objective. Among the cable shows that feature LGBTQ color characters is Freeform Good problem.

“Amid a destructive pandemic, a long-awaited cultural account with racial injustice and a transition to a new political era for this country, representation matters more than ever as people turn to entertainment storytelling to connect and escape, Ellis said in a “This time of unprecedented change, coupled with increased demand, represents an opportunity to innovate with stories we’ve never seen before and create characters. LGBTQ that do not reinforce harmful stereotypes. “

Consistent with last year’s record, regular and recurring female characters are still 46% in prime-time scripted series, and the report further found that there are 29 regular and recurring transgender characters across all of them. platforms, including 15 trans women, 12 trans men and and two non-binary trans characters. Bisexual character portrayal represents 28% of LGBTQ characters across all platforms, but has declined on air for the second year in a row.

“LGBTQ-mainstreaming shows dominated the conversation in 2020, with shows like Schitts Creek, Batwoman, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Poison, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and others celebrating high viewership, rave reviews and passionate fans, said Megan Townsend, director of entertainment research and analysis at GLAAD. However, with LGBTQ inclusion in the industry still being driven by a concentrated number of creations and several inclusive series ending in this year’s study, streaming networks and services need to take note of the value of this. dedicated audience.

When it comes to characters living with HIV / AIDS, which has always been an area that involves a lot of stigma, representation in this area has dropped dramatically with just three characters counted across all platforms and all appearing on one show, FX’s Pose. This prompted Ellis and the GLAAD team to extend a new challenge to the television community and feature three recurring characters who are HIV positive each year in prime time shows, cable shows, or original series on Hulu, Amazon and Netflix.

“Hollywood needs to tell these stories that not only entertain, but also have the opportunity to inform and educate its audiences,” said DaShawn Usher, GLAADs Community of Color Program Manager and HIV / AIDS advocate. “While there have been so many advancements and developments in HIV education, prevention and treatment, I cannot say the same when it comes to Hollywood telling these diverse and compelling stories.

Elsewhere, the percentage of characters with disabilities also increased slightly, from 3.1% last year to 3.5%. Despite the increase, the numbers continue to under-represent the US population living with a disability, which is estimated at more than 61 million adults.

Asexual portrayal continues to be non-existent, as the only asexual character in recent history was Todd Chavez on the Netflix cartoon. BoJack Rider, voiced by Aaron Paul (the show has since been canceled). In the next series, there is an expected lesbian sexless character on a Freeform show.

GLAAD, which was founded in 1985 with the mission of promoting acceptance of LGBTQ in the entertainment landscape, has been publishing the Where We Are On TV report for 25 years. In the beginning, when there were only 12 LGBTQ characters on TV. Now, there are 101 LGBTQ characters in total on TV, up from 120 last year.

“It must be a priority to introduce nuanced and diverse LGBTQ characters in 2021 and beyond, ensuring that this year’s declines do not turn into reverse progress as the industry continues to evolve and grow. ‘adapt to the challenges of this unique era, “urges Townsend.



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