LGBTQ+ Representation in Media

Historically, LGBTQ+ representation in media has been underrepresented. This project is to examine this problem, and see how LGBTQ characters are represented on television.

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Why this project is important

For over 20 the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has produced a 'Where We Are On Television' report, which tracks the presence of lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer characters on television. GLAAD has been a watchdog for LGBTQ issues in the media. While researching data for this project, GLAAD was one of the only organizations that has recorded this information. This shows how vital it is for there to be more research in this area.

The chart on the left examines data of the sexual orientation of recurring characters on primetime scripted broadcast television during a television season. Since 2010 the data has remained almost the same. The percentage of LGBTQ characters never reaches above 5 percent.


How to the networks stack up?

In my research of how LGBTQ were protrayed and distributed across different platforms, I found that streaming services like Netflix and Hulu had more LGBTQ characters than broadcast or cable channels. In the chart on the right you can see the data from GLAAD from its 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 "Where We Are in Television" report. The 2015-2016 report was the first time GLAAD used data from streaming services. While the number of characters falls behind cable for the number one spot, there is a considerable amount of LGBTQ characters on streaming platforms. This is due to most of these shows coming out in the past five years and the audiences skewing younger.

A look at Network, Cable and Streaming shows

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Send me an email if you would like to chat about this project or the data that I used.