Finally! Some good news! The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s annual study of LGBT characters on primetime TV is out. Gay, lesbian, bi and trans characters have been the most visible they’ve ever been.
Where We Are On TV studied characters on scripted shows on the upcoming 2012-2013 season for both network (ABC, NBC, CBS, The CW, and FOX) and mainstream cable. The numbers may not sound like much, seeing as LGBT folks represent a meager 4.4% of scripted series regulars on broadcast TV. But they are indeed the highest number ever recorded by GLAAD: 2011 saw 2.9%, 2010 saw 3.9%, 2009 saw 3%, 2008 saw 2.6%, and 2007 saw 1.1%. Put another way, compared with 2007, LGBT characters saw a 400% increase on the broadcast networks — but it’s still an unacceptably small percentage of all characters overall. As for mainstream cable, the networks studied reached a new high of 61 LGBT characters total.
ABC and Showtime came out on top as the channels from their respective categories with the best respresentation. But FOX — yes, really, FOX — had the most inclusive show on broadcast TV because it airs Glee. Over at HBO, True Blood was the most inclusive show in mainstream cable.
You can read the full, data-filled study in a PDF over at GLAAD’s web site, which is packed to the gills with information about ethnic/racial presentation, gender identity, LGBT people of color, and people with disabilities amongst the characters studied as well. It’s more data than your brain might want to process, but the tl;dr? Things are getting better.