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GLAAD report warns ‘alarming number’ of LGBTQ TV shows and characters will disappear next year

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The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) released a new report Tuesday revealing that, due to an “alarming number of LGBTQ-fronted shows” ending, nearly 30% of LGBTQ characters will likely disappear.

GLAAD’s 18th report on the status of LGBTQ representation on television found that a total of 596 LGBTQ characters were featured in scripted TV in the 2022-2023 season. This represented an approximate 6% drop from the previous year. 

The report noted 175 of these characters, about 29%, won’t be returning. Twenty-four percent of those characters were featured on shows that are either being canceled or finishing their final season, while the other 35 characters were in limited miniseries or anthologies with revolving casts.

Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker, a gay couple on the popular sitcom 'Modern Family.' (ABC)

Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker, a gay couple on the popular sitcom ‘Modern Family.’ (ABC)

The GLAAD report said it is “concerning” that many “series getting cut are LGBTQ-inclusive programs, leaving a large demographic of viewers constantly searching for new programs only for them to ultimately be canceled before a satisfying conclusion. In recent years, an alarming number of LGBTQ-fronted shows have ended.”

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“At a time when transgender Americans are facing a growing number of dangerous and discriminatory attacks in rhetoric and policy, Hollywood players who are real allies to our community have a responsibility and an opportunity to create stories that humanize trans people and educate viewers about being transgender,” GLAAD President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.

She continued, “With attacks on the LGBTQ community in political and news spaces, Hollywood has more influence than ever and it’s critical the stories they invest in telling include fair and accurate depictions of LGBTQ people that reflect the humanity of our community.”

Transgender actor Laverne Cox has appeared in several TV shows over many platforms. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Transgender actor Laverne Cox has appeared in several TV shows over many platforms. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

“It’s clear that when a service fully invests in its LGBTQ shows, this programming rises above a crowded media landscape and is successful with both critics and audiences,” Ellis said in the report. “It is then disappointing to see this year that over 20 percent of LGBTQ characters counted here will not be returning in next year’s report due to series endings or cancellations.”

The report also found that a majority of those characters, about 60%, were found on streaming services such as Netflix, HBO Max or Hulu versus broadcast or cable television.

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Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Senior Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis, also lamented that characters were “not evenly prioritized” across streaming services and television. However, she remained hopeful about the future for LGBTQ characters.

Billy Porter was the first openly gay Black man to win an Emmy in 2019 for his role in the LGBTQ series ‘Pose’ on FX. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)

Billy Porter was the first openly gay Black man to win an Emmy in 2019 for his role in the LGBTQ series ‘Pose’ on FX. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage) (Getty)

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“[I]t’s clear that well-crafted LGBTQ-inclusive series with full support behind them at all levels can break through a crowded landscape and become ‘must-watch’ successful shows for critics and audiences alike, such as ‘Yellowjackets,’ ‘Hacks’, ‘The Umbrella Academy,’ ‘The Last of Us,’ and more have proven. We hope to see more networks and streamers follow these examples by investing in and proactively marketing nuanced, diverse LGBTQ stories,” Townsend said.

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