You can’t control reality, but you can control what people see on television, so it is not a surprise that the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters on the small screen is a gross misrepresentation of the real life numbers, with LGBT activists clamoring for even more.
The Trumpet reports that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) released its annual “Where We Are on TV” report on Nov. 7, calling for “20 percent of series regular characters on primetime scripted broadcast series” to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) by the year 2025. Broadcast television has met the goal for the last two years, but now it is being loudly advocated for cable and streaming services. According to GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, this is to ensure that “entertainment reflects the world in which it is created and the audience who consume it.”
The GLAAD report cites a Harris Poll survey stating that 20 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 across all demographics are LGBT, and that 12 percent of the total population identifies as LGTB. This, they argue, is what makes it necessary to have the widening tv landscape correspondingly mirror the widening spectrum of sexuality in society. Ellis went on to state:
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GLAAD was founded by advocates who recognized the power of entertainment and media as the most powerful vehicle to share our stories – to combat negative or dehumanizing headlines, create a culture shift that makes it safe for LGBTQ people to live authentically as ourselves, and to offer hope and inspiration to young queer and trans people around the world. Today, there is more urgency than ever for our stories to be explored, and for the full diversity of the LGBTQ community to be featured in series that are connecting with audiences on such a personal level. And GLAAD is seeing television lead that charge.
The report misrepresents the facts, however. According to a Gallup survey, only 4.5 percent of the United States population identifies as LGBT. This is from a sample group of 340,604 people, as opposed to the Harris Poll’s sample size of 2,037 people. Even though the proportion of LGBT millennials is higher than that of the total population, at 8.2 percent, it is still markedly lower than the Harris Poll’s purported 20 percent.
With each of its annual reports GLAAD calls for increased LGBT representation in entertainment. In the 2018 report, it called for 10 percent of recurring series characters to be LGB, and succeeded. The rise to 20 percent this year reflects the movement’s intent to advance its agenda at the expense of truth and facts.
Were GLAAD’s calls for representation actually answered, according to the Harris Poll data, television representation would outstrip reality by about 40 percent. Using Gallup’s data, it would surpass reality by more than 77 percent. This would further solidify the illusion that the lgbtq population is larger than it actually is.
According to a 2019 Gallup poll, Americans “greatly overestimate” the U.S. homosexual population. In three Gallup polls in 2011, 2015 and 2019, the average respondent estimated that the lgbtq population was between 24.6 percent and 23.2 percent. Only 8 percent guessed that the actual figure was below 5 percent.