Number of LGBT characters on TV far exceeds real-life percentage

Ruby Rose plays Kate Kane/ Bat women, a lesbian superhero in CW's "Batwoman." Elizabeth Morris/ CW

Despite the “LGBT” population holding steady at about 4.5 percent of people in the United States, more homosexual and gender-denying characters than ever are populating television shows, especially on the broadcast networks and streaming services.

The numbers from GLAAD’s 2019-20 “Where We Are on TV” survey, reported in USA Today,  indicate that the broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW  – have reached another new high in LGBT representation in the 2019-20 TV season.

The report found LGBT characters are expected to represent 10.2 percent of series regulars on prime-time scripted series on the major networks, a figure more than double the actual percentage of declared homosexuals and gender-denying people in the U.S. population.

The TV number passes last season’s record of 8.8 percent, and surpasses the 10 percent goal set by GLAAD,  the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, a year early.

The report’s calculations are based on confirmed casting for current and upcoming series scheduled to air between June 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020. (Shows that have not premiered are always subject to recasting, delays or cancellation.)

Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, the leading streaming services, showed a 45 percent increase in LGBT series regulars (from 75 to 109), nearly matching the percentage rise from a year earlier. The report does not provide an overall number of series regulars as it does for broadcast shows.

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