Almost four percent of regular characters in prime-time scripted shows in America will be LGBT in the coming television season.
On Wednesday, US LGBT media lobby group GLAAD released two reports looking at the state of LGBT representation in one of the world’s biggest and most influential television markets.
The organisation has for the first time awarded three networks – ABC Family, HBO, and MTV – an “Excellent” rating for their shows in the last year.
ABC Family offered viewers gay friendly shows including Pretty Little Liars and The Fosters, HBO produced The Normal Heart, True Blood, Looking and Game of Thrones, while MTV is responsible for Teen Wolf and reality shows like The Real World.
GLAAD announced that networks will need significant transgender content to receive “Excellent” grades moving forward.
Networks that received a “Good” rating included ABC (Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy), The CW (America’s Next Top Model, The Vampire Diaries), FOX (American Idol, Glee), NBC (The Voice, America’s Got Talent), FX (Anger Management), Showtime (Shameless, Masters of Sex, Nurse Jackie)
GLAAD said that the improvement came in the wake of recent milestones for the LGBT community in the US, “including the end of the military’s ban on openly gay service members, numerous states legalising marriage for same-sex couples through both the courts and the ballot box, and even official federal recognition of those marriages after a landmark Supreme Court ruling.”
Looking at the new season, GLAAD revealed that of the 813 prime-time broadcast scripted series regular characters, 32 will be LGBT this year, or 3.9%.
This is up from 3.3% last year but still down from the record high of 2012 when 4.4% of prime-time broadcast scripted regular characters were LGBT. In addition, GLAAD found that there will be 33 recurring LGBT characters on prime time broadcast series.
The heads of the three “Excellent” networks welcomed the recognition from GLAAD.
“To be relevant to our audience, we must reflect the world as they experience it, and we know that experience is based on valuing loving relationships, no matter the gender,” commented Tom Ascheim, President of ABC Family. “We will continue to deliver programming where differences are acknowledged and celebrated.”
“At HBO we feel if we are not telling diverse stories then we are missing out on some of the best stories. It is a part of our history and an ongoing commitment,” said Michael Lombardo, President, HBO Programming.
“For MTV to fully connect with young people, we have to represent our entire audience in all its brilliant diversity, which includes people of every sexual orientation and gender identity,” added Stephen Friedman, President of MTV & Logo TV.