GLAAD: Increase in non-White LGBTQ characters for 2019-2020 TV season

LGBTQ media watchdog group GLAAD has released its annual report on LGBTQ representation in broadcast, cable, and streaming television for the 2019-2020 TV season. My thoughts on some report aspects are below.

Overall numbers, plus superhero shows’ representation

Batwoman #1 (May 2017) cover
“Batwoman” #1 (May 2017). Art by Steve Epting.

10.2% of regularly appearing characters on broadcast network TV (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and the CW) are reported as LGBTQ. The leading network in terms of representation is the CW, with 15.4% of series regulars. The lowest percentage is CBS, at 5.5%. (Ironic given CBS’ parent company owns half of the CW.)

The CW’s high percentage seems to mostly come from its slate of DC superhero shows. GLAAD specifically praises the new “Batwoman” TV series as a positive example. Fellow CW superhero shows “Black Lightning,” “Supergirl,” and “Legends of Tomorrow” are also mentioned.

Meanwhile, cable TV has almost half of its LGBTQ representation on only three channels: Showtime (the leader, with shows like “The L Word” revival), FX, and Freeform.

Finally, Netflix dominates streaming services in representation by a mile (with 121 LGBTQ characters), with Hulu (24) and Amazon Prime Video (8) trailing behind. DC Universe is specifically mentioned for “Doom Patrol” (for Negative Man and Danny the Street) and “Titans” (for Jericho). Hulu is mentioned for “Marvel’s Runaways,” the only Marvel superhero entry I could find.

Marvel seems to be trailing well behind DC in representation; granted, DC’s traditionally had a stronger TV presence. GLAAD does report Disney+ plans on including LGBTQ characters in some of its upcoming Marvel superhero shows.

Racial diversity

Overall, GLAAD reports a 3% increase from last year for the number of non-White LGBTQ characters on TV. Out of 879 series regulars, 409 (47%) are people of color, a record high since GLAAD started tracking this data in 2005.

For broadcast TV, GLAAD reports 52% of regular and recurring LGBTQ characters are non-White, up two percentage points from last year. ABC and the CW lead with the highest percentages of series regulars as LGBTQ people of color, with shows like “Black-ish” and “Black Lightning” mentioned.

Cable TV meanwhile clocks in with 48% of its LGBTQ characters as people of color (up by 2% from last year), plus another 1% as non-human (presumably an animated or sci-fi series).

Finally, streaming services feature 41% of characters as LGBTQ people of color (down 7% from last year), plus another 4% of characters as non-human.

Cast of Netflix's She-Ra

Animation

On the animation side of things, GLAAD’s report mentions:

  • Aqualad in “Young Justice: Outsiders.”
  • An upcoming Harley Quinn animated series for DC Universe.
  • The final season of “BoJack Horseman,” which unfortunately features the only asexual TV character found by GLAAD.
  • Netflix’s “She-Ra” and “Twelve Forever” series.
  • Hulu’s “The Bravest Knight.”
  • An upcoming adult animated series on Netflix titled “Q-Force.”
  • PBS’ “Arthur” (for Mr. Ratburn).
  • Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe” and “OK KO! Let’s Be Heroes.”
  • “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.”
  • Nickelodeon’s “The Loud House.”

What’re your thoughts on the GLAAD 2019 TV report, or the state of LGBTQ representation on TV in general? Do you like any of the above mentioned shows?

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