GLAAD's annual Where We Are on TV 2015-16 report is in its 20th year and for the first time the report includes streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. The new kids on the block put the alphabet networks to shame with 43 regular LGBT characters (and 16 recurring) sprawled over just 23 shows.
Streaming also has the highest percentage of trans characters (7 percent) including Maura on Amazon's Transparent and Nomi on Netflix's Sense8, who are both series leads—also a rarity on broadcast and cable network shows.
Related | The Diversity of the 2015 Emmys
In comparison, broadcast television only has 35 regular LGB characters (and 35 recurring) over 118 shows, but no transgender characters. Cable has 84 regular and 58 recurring LGBT characters, of which only 2% are trans.
While the number of LGBT representations on TV has generally increased from last year, GLAAD still notes that racial diversity is lacking—69 percent to 73 percent of all the queer characters on scripted broadcast, cable and streaming series are white.
In addition to spotlighting shows like Empire, Orange Is the New Black and Arrow—as well as the gayest network on television, ABC Family—for their numerous depictions of queer characters, GLAAD dropped a few spoilers we can all look forward to in the coming year:
Arrow will resurrect bisexual heroine Sara Lance before moving her over to the midseason series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow as a lead character, the White Canary. Her former girlfriend Nyssa will continue to recur on Arrow, and the series will add the recurring gay character Curtis Holt, who appears as the hero Mr. Terrific in the DC Comics source material. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC will introduce recurring gay character Joey Gutierrez who has the power to spontaneously melt metal.
And fans of The Walking Dead comic should be happy with this news:
The new season will also introduce Paul “Jesus” Monroe, a gay character from the comic series that provides the show’s source material.
Jesus is, like, the baddest bitch in TWD and will be played by Brit Tom Payne.
As a lover of television—my mother, my lover, my friend—what a time it is to be alive. Growing up, the closest depiction I found of myself was Bea Arthur on The Golden Girls, and yet here we are in 2015 with the rainbow connection Kermit and/or LeVar Burton promised. If only Hollywood would take a note.
Les Fabian Brathwaite—Binge Watcher.