‘Increased representation of LGBTQ stories and characters on television is especially critical to advance LGBTQ acceptance [and] work towards reflecting the reality of their audience…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A record number of homosexual and transgender characters appeared on television series this past year, but according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, one of the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy groups, this isn’t enough.
There were a total of 215 LGBT characters on the main streaming networks, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, GLAAD found in its annual “Where Are We On TV” report.
“Last year, GLAAD called on the television industry to increase the number of LGBTQ characters and more accurately reflect the world we live in,” Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s president and CEO said in a statement, “and they responded by exceeding this challenge.”
Last year, GLAAD demanded that television producers make 10 percent of their characters LGBT. This year, they’re demanding 20 percent.
Statistical estimates based on a range of scientific research and recent surveys suggest roughly around 5 percent of the population is LGBT.
“At a time when the cultural climate is growing increasingly divisive, increased representation of LGBTQ stories and characters on television is especially critical to advance LGBTQ acceptance,” Ellis said, urging shows to “work towards reflecting the reality of their audience and the culture.”
GLAAD also wants TV shows to include LGBT characters of color. Half of all LGBT characters should be minorities, the group said, to best “reflect the world in which it is created and the audience who consumes it.”
Ellis claimed that this kind of inclusion is important because a growing amount of Americans identify as LGBT, and those who don’t tend to learn about LGBT culture through television.
Earlier this year, children’s programs began actively supporting LGBT mandates. “Arthur” included a gay wedding in one of its episodes and “My Little Pony” created a lesbian character. Parents were so concerned about the attempted indoctrination that in Alabama, the public television network refused to broadcast the LGBT episode of “Arthur.”
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” Mike Mckenzie, director of programming at Alabama Public Television, said.
“More importantly—although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards—parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision,” he continued. “We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for Arthur also watch the program.”