More Than a Third of LGBTQ+ Characters on TV Won’t Return Next Season, GLAAD Reports


If it seems like there are fewer queer characters on television this year, that’s because there are.

The media advocacy organization GLAAD released its annual “Where We Are on TV” report on Tuesday, tracking LGBTQ+ representation on the small screen over the last year. The report found an overall decrease in LGBTQ+ representation across scripted television between the 2022-2023 season and the 2023-2024 season.

Over the past year, the number of LGBTQ+ characters fell by 31% on broadcast TV, by 45% on cable, and by 0.8% on streaming. On top of that, 170 of the 468 LGBTQ+ characters (36%) included in the 2023-2024 edition of the report will not be returning, whether due to series cancellations, an anthology or miniseries format, or a character dying or leaving the show. Series endings are by far responsible for most of this drop: Of the 170 characters who are not slated to return, 112 are on shows that have ended or been cut from the schedule.

GLAAD attributes some of this decline in LGBTQ+ representation to the Hollywood studios’ collective response to the 2023 Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild strikes, in which writers and actors organized for fair pay and industry reforms. During the strikes, which cumulatively lasted from May to November 2023, a number of LGBTQ+-inclusive series listed on previous GLAAD TV reports — including Yellowjackets, The Last of Us, and The Umbrella Academy — were delayed and do not appear among this year’s findings.

The 2023-2024 report notes that because the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — the official collective bargaining representative of the major Hollywood studios — “took months to come to the negotiating table” during the strikes, “another side effect… is that many streamers and networks used the strikes as an excuse to cancel series, many of them inclusive.” LGBTQ-inclusive shows like Prime Video’s A League of Their Own reboot, Max’s The Other Two, Paramount+’s Grease: The Rise of the Pink Ladies, and the CW’s Gotham Knights were all canceled or ended during the strikes.

The little gay pirate show that could has developed a wonderfully rabid fandom.

Additionally, a record of cancellations can actually hurt a studio’s reputation, particularly when it comes to streaming content. A 2023 YouGov survey found that over a quarter (27%) of U.S. adults wait for a streaming original series’ finale before starting it due to fears over the show’s potential cancellation.

The number of trans characters across television also declined during the 2023-2024 TV season. This year, only 24 trans characters are counted on the GLAAD report, down from 32 last year. This marks the lowest number of trans characters on a “Where We Are on TV” report since the 2017-2018 season. GLAAD noted that, even if existing shows like Euphoria, The Sandman, Somebody Somewhere, and 9-1-1: Lone Star had premiered during this period, the number still represents a “steady decline” in representation.

Gay men were the best-represented LGBTQ demographic on TV this year, making up 35.7% of all LGBTQ characters. Lesbians made up 25.2% of characters, while bisexual characters made up 24.1%. Nearly half of LGBTQ TV characters (49.1%) are white. Meanwhile, 15.2% of LGBTQ characters are Black, 9.1% are Latine, 8.9% are API, 8.4% are multiracial, 3% are MENA, and 1.8% are Indigenous.

“We know that LGBTQ stories are crucial now more than ever,” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement accompanying the 2023-2024 GLAAD TV Report’s release. “It is paramount to see our lives reflected on screen, challenging the misinformation and harmful rhetoric that is running unchecked by politicians and journalists.”

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Originally Appeared on them.