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Record number of LGBT characters in television over the past 12 months

Will & Grace @2x

There once was a time when members of the LGBT community had to picket and protest about the negative representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans characters in television and film. In fact, only at the start of last year forums online were being crammed with critique about queer characters being killed off in various series and movies.

But those days seem like ages ago when you consider the plethora of positive LGBT characters who have made their presence in TV recently. Indeed, LGBT characters have hit record-high representation numbers for the 2018-19 television season, according to an annual Where We Are on TV report by GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).

Programs that were specifically highlighted as showing positive LGBT representation include ‘Will & Grace’, ‘Empire’ and ‘Supergirl’, while even ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ got a positive look-in.

Regular LGBT characters in television have hit 8.8% (equating 75 characters), with 50% of these being non-Caucasian.

There is fair representation between the sexes, too, with an equal number of male and female characters, improving upon last year, when it was split 55/45 in favour of men.

Programs that were specifically highlighted as showing positive LGBT representation include Will & Grace, Empire and Supergirl, while even How to Get Away with Murder and Orange Is the New Black got positive look-ins.

The report gathered information from free-to-air television viewing, as well as the habits of folks who use streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix, with Netflix churning out the highest number of LGBT characters.  Antonino Tati



Percentage of LGBT characters in television compared to number of heterosexual characters = 8.8%

Total number of regular LGBT characters = 75

Total number of bisexual series regulars or recurring characters = 117

Total number of transgender regular or recurring characters = 26

Total number of HIV-positive regular or recurring characters = 7

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