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LGBTQ Diversity on TV Still Overwhelmingly White & Male

Modern Family

More than 70 percent of queer characters on television last year were counted as white.

It's no secret that movies are leagues behind television shows when it comes to LGBTQ diversity in media, but TV representation still has a long way to go. During a panel to TV reporters at the TCA Press Tour this weekend, GLAAD broke down two troubling trends among the LGBTQ characters on TV. Not only are these characters overwhelmingly white and male but also, in regards to bisexual representation, characters fall into the "evil bisexual" stereotype.

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On cable and streaming platforms, which include original shows on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, more than 70 percent of queer characters were counted as white. When it comes to bisexuality, out of TV's 278 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters last year, 83 were bisexual and, among the 83, most were women.

This sounds promising but, as GLAAD's director of entertainment research and analysis Megan Townsend pointed out, their narratives are often problematic. "Unfortunately, a lot of bisexual characters are still falling into damaging tropes," Townsend explained. "We need more bisexual characters who have nuanced, fully realized stories that don't just lean into these tropes that we've seen over and over and over again."

As a new slate of shows prepare to take over television and bring a fresh wave of LGBTQ characters to the screen, it's important to remember that equal representation matters. The LGBTQ community's focus on white men and the demonization of bisexuality cannot continue to be the status quo.

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Chris Thomas