The TV industry is making progress towards better representation through LGBTQ characters, and kids content is leading the way—but buyers and producers can be doing more, says GLAAD.
According to the advocacy org’s tally, 10% of regular characters in scripted primetime series (70 in total) were portrayed as LGBTQ last year, and this represents a 1.3% decrease from 2021. The grand total gets a bit of a lift when recurring characters are factored in, but it’s still down from the previous year.
When it comes to kids content, the report doesn’t mince words about how key representation is for children. “It is more important than ever to have content made for kids and families that depicts the LGBTQ community in a positive and empowering way,” the report states.
Anti-LGBTQ legislation that was passed last year may be affecting kids’ ability to access educational resources and facilities in some states, so GLAAD is strongly encouraging the entertainment industry to step up and showcase diversity. “As LGBTQ young people are facing backlash in several areas of public life currently, seeing these aspirational and fun inclusive stories in programming made for them is more critical than ever,” the report states.
Disney and Netflix were behind two standout examples of representation from 2022, according to the report, which cites Disney Channel’s The Ghost of Molly McGee (featuring a queer ghost and gay teacher) and Disney Junior’s Eureka! (with a nonbinary student in its cast). And new series Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur features two trans classmates as well as gay dads.
For its part, Netflix launched several inclusive kids shows last year, including Dead End: Paranormal Park (pictured), about a gay trans boy and his pansexual co-worker. And The Dragon Prince and Princess Power and Transformers: EarthSpark also feature LGBTQ characters.
Overall, there were 356 LGBTQ characters (239 series regulars and 117 recurring characters) featured in content on streaming platforms last year, two less than in 2021. Interestingly, more than half (51%) of these LGBTQ characters were also people of color.
Read the full report here.