GLBT characters reach record numbers on US TV

Glee and True Blood have the highest proportion of gay characters on US television, according to a new report by advocacy group GLAAD Media.

In its annual survey of representation, it found that at the launch of the 2012-2013 television season, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) scripted characters represent 4.4% of all scripted series regular characters on the five broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, and NBC.

GLBT characters on broadcast networks has risen to the highest ever recorded, while the overall count also increased on cable television.

This is an increase from last year, with 31 series regular characters identified as GLBT. Additionally GLAAD counted 19 recurring characters on primetime broadcast scripted series.

Glee was found to have the most inclusive show on broadcast television, with six recurring characters (Kurt, Blaine, Santana, Brittany, Sebastian and Unique).

“This year’s increase of LGBT characters on television reflects a cultural change in the way gay and lesbian people are seen in our society,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “More and more Americans have come to accept their LGBT family members, friends, coworkers, and peers, and as audiences tune into their favorite programs, they expect to see the same diversity of people they encounter in their daily lives.”

  • ABC has the highest amount with 5.2% (10 out of 194) of their regular characters identifying as LGBT.
  • After leading last year, FOX is in second with six LGBT characters out of 118 total series regulars (5.1%). The CW will feature four regular LGBT characters out of 81 total (4.9%), while NBC will feature seven regular LGBT characters out of 166 (4.2%).
  • CBS also improved and will feature four LGBT characters out of 142 series regulars (2.8%), up from 0.7% last year. This improvement and the addition of a gay lead character demonstrate an authentic and conscious effort by CBS to improve its diversity.

On mainstream cable networks, the number of announced GLBT series regular characters has also increased to 35, and will also feature 26 recurring characters for a total of 61 GLBT characters.

  • This year Showtime features the greatest number of LGBT characters on cable with 12; seven of which are series regulars.
  • Also making a significant contributions to the count are HBO (9 characters), FX (8), Adult Swim (5) and ABC Family, MTV, Syfy, and TeenNick (with 4 characters each).
  • Once again this year True Blood is the most inclusive show on cable television with six gay, lesbian or bisexual characters.

Male characters continue to outweigh female characters in broadcast TV, 55.5% (389) to 44.5% (312) in overall numbers, while 78% (547) of all series regular characters are white.


  1. It’s not so much being singled out or being reduced to sexual orientation, but when minorities are represented on screen – because of they aren’t – it’s extremely empowering to take ownership of those representations as a part of our identity and as characters we can identify with.

  2. jezza the first original one

    Is it right that charcters that have a certain sexual orientation should be singled out and represented by an acronym?

    Its the quality of the show that is important

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