Have you ever stopped to wonder why viewers, critics, and the like makes such a big deal of LGBTQ characters or storylines on television?
First, it is important to establish that despite living in so-called advanced society in 2017 there is still too little LGBTQ representation in the arts, in this case, on television.
Let’s look at some stats. The GLAAD organization has released a full report on the representation of LBGTQ on television and it makes for interesting reading.
In broadcast and cable shows there has been some improvement with broadcast television featuring 35 series regulars and 35 recurring characters that are LGBT. Cable is doing a bit better though with 84 series regulars and 58 recurring LGBT characters throughout its various shows.
You can read the full report here: http://www.glaad.org/files/GLAAD-2015-WWAT.pdf
It is interesting to note that Cable features LGBTQ characters more than network television. One could surmise that there are several reasons that are a factor for why this is. One such factor could be that Network executives want to portray a more ‘family friendly’ image to its viewers. However, if this is the case the question must be asked: what about an LGBTQ character isn’t family friendly or acceptable for so called family viewing? Surely, the presence of LGBTQ characters on television is a representation of everyday life around the world.
There will be those who say that they don’t want to be faced with those things on television. Firstly, if you subscribe to share this opinion you are homophobic. Secondly, if we were to play devil’s advocate for just a minute and go with this narrow-minded logic where exactly would the line be drawn on what should and should not be portrayed on television. Will it stop at LGBTQ characters or will nothing be safe from censorship. That is after all what under-representation of LGBTQ characters and narratives are – a form of censorship.
There is untold value in the prominence of LGBTQ characters, shows, and plot lines on television. For young people to see themself represented in a positive manner, to see their situations tackled and conquered has the potential for an enormously positive impact.
It shouldn’t be a novelty any longer to see LGBTQ represented on television, it should be unconscious and here’s hoping we get to that day sooner rather than later.