October 25, 2018 at 1:26 pm EST | by Mariah Cooper
GLAAD reports record percentage of LGBT characters of color

Scene from ‘Pose’ (Screenshot via YouTube)

GLAAD released its annual Where We Are on TV Report on Thursday with some uplifting numbers for LGBT characters of color and overall LGBT representation.

The study analyzed characters on scripted television shows for the 2018-2019 season. Overall, there was a record increase in LGBT characters on cable networks and streaming platforms (Amazon, Hulu, Netflix) from 2017.

LGBT series regulars accounted for 8.8 percent of all broadcast series regulars marking an increase from 6.4 percent last year. These characters include 22 percent black, 8 percent Latinx and 8 percent Asian Pacific Islander. For the first time in the study’s 23 year history, LGBT characters of color outnumber white LGBT characters. Black LGBT characters also ranked at an all-time high.

Transgender representation also increased, in part thanks to shows such as “Pose” and “Supergirl,” from last year’s 17 to 26. Bisexual+ people made headway with an increase from 93 to 117. Characters with HIV also went up to seven from two.

Gender also saw some impressive numbers with characters split between male and female. Women accounted for 49.6 percent of the characters. In 2017, men made up 55 percent of characters while women came in at 44 percent.

Netflix dominated with LGBT characters on streaming platform and FX holds the most LGBT characters on cable TV.

GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis stressed the importance of LGBT representation on television in a statement about the report.

“Amid one of the most tumultuous times that LGBTQ Americans have ever faced, what happens on our television screens is now more critical than ever before to accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ people,” Ellis said. “Not only do stories that explore the rich lives and identities of LGBTQ people move the needle forward culturally, but they pay off in ratings — shows like ‘Will & Grace,’ ‘Supergirl,’ ‘Empire’ and ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ all attract millions of viewers weekly and show that audiences are clearly hungry for new stories and perspectives.”

GLAAD is challenging television to increase these numbers even further to 10 percent LGBT inclusivity by 2020.

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