finally, some good news from 2016: tv is now more racially diverse

GLAAD reports that racial diversity and regular representation of LGBT people on broadcast TV is at a 12-year high.

by Clementine de Pressigny
03 November 2016, 3:52pm

GLAAD — the organization dedicated to working with media to increase equality for LGBT people — has released its annual Where We Are on TV report, and while it's clear there's still a long way to go in terms diversity, there is finally a bit of good news for 2016. Key findings of the report include an expected increase in recurring LGBTQ characters on primetime for the coming 2016-17 programming season, the highest reported by GLAAD in the 12 years since it developed comprehensive stats on representation. Racial diversity has improved slightly, with a 3% increase in people of color as regular characters on broadcast TV, and primetime is at a 12-year high, with 20% of central characters being people of color. Transgender representation is also up, as are regular female characters and those with disabilities.

But the reality is that this good news is tempered by the fact that TV is still a long, long way from equality — and scripts are still guilty of replicating damaging stereotypes. The report states that, "it must be made clear that television — and broadcast series more specifically — failed queer women this year as character after character was killed. This continues a decades long trend of killing LGBTQ characters — often solely to further a straight, cisgender character's plot line — which sends a dangerous message to audiences."

GLAAD also points out that male transgender characters must be included, "as they remain largely invisible in mainstream media." Women too are underrepresented compared to population statistics — particularly black female characters. A continued drop in racially diverse LGBT characters is another big disappointment. Read the full report here.


Text Clementine de Pressigny
Image courtesy Netflix