GLAAD study finds gay depictions increase on TV

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Last week, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation released a study saying television has increased its depiction of gay, lesbian and bisexual characters, with the edge going to cable and the Internet over broadcast networks.

According to the Associated Press, networks are promoting the understanding of gay lives with some of the most inclusive programs yet, but should “strive to include significant transgender content,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, which advocates for the inclusion of LGBT characters and stories in media, in a statement.

In the 2014-15 season, the study by GLAAD said that 3.9 percent of 813 characters regularly seen on prime time network scripted series will be lesbian, gay or bisexual, a total of 32 characters.

That represents an increase over last year’s 3.3 percent, but is down from the 4.4 percent record high for LGBT depictions on network series in 2012. In this year’s Emmy Award nominations, “Orange Is the New Black,” a Netflix megahit, co-star Laverne Cox became the first openly transgender actress to receive a nod.

The overall on-screen progress comes as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has made social and political strides that include legalization of same-sex marriage in some U.S. states and the end of a military ban on openly gay service members.

Among cable TV shows, there were 64 regular LGBT characters, up from 42 last season. HBO has the most characters, followed by ABC Family and Showtime. One transgender character, on ABC Family’s “The Fosters,” was found by the study.

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