They’ve come to be like family to us: the sassy gay next door neighbor, the gruff-but-lovable lesbian gym teacher, the outrageous bearded drag queen with the heart of gold. But according to GLAAD, we’ll face a bleak new TV season missing nearly a third of our beloved LGBT characters.
So yeah, The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), whose mission is to make sure TV is even gayer than modern American real life, is warning that next TV season’s queer quotient is going to be wanting.
GLAAD's 18th report on the status of LGBTQ representation on television found that a total of 596 LGBTQ characters were featured in scripted TV in the 2022-2023 season. This represented an approximate 6% drop from the previous year.
Grim stuff. Sure, Six percent might seem like a normal annual fluctuation. But for every gay character not shown on TV, there are hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of vulnerable young people who won’t see “someone just like me” every time the channel surf.
But it got worse:
The report noted 175 of these characters, about 29%, won't be returning. Twenty-four percent of those characters were featured on shows that are either being canceled or finishing their final season, while the other 35 characters were in limited miniseries or anthologies with revolving casts.
The report found it "concerning" that many "series getting cut are LGBTQ-inclusive programs, leaving a large demographic of viewers constantly searching for new programs only for them to ultimately be canceled before a satisfying conclusion. In recent years, an alarming number of LGBTQ-fronted shows have ended."
Concerning, alarming – this is super-serious! The LGBT agenda – including fictional representations – is only supposed to move from victory to victory until it reaches the sunlit uplands of complete cultural hegemony.
The problem is that, try as the activists and their Hollywood fellow travelers might to inflate numbers and mainstream the alphabet soup people, the market eventually tells the truth. Tailoring programming to meet the demands of a small (albeit loud) segment of the audience just isn’t a winning formula.
GLAAD, of course, can’t admit that. Fox quoted GLAAD Senior Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis Megan Townsend bravely toeing the identity line. "It’s clear that when a service fully invests in its LGBTQ shows, this programming rises above a crowded media landscape and is successful with both critics and audiences."
Yeah, no. If a show is a hit, it sticks around until it isn’t anymore. If it’s no good, or if its appeal is too narrow, it goes away, and those billions of marginalized young people who just want to see “someone just like me” are out of luck. Maybe they should try reading. I hear school libraries are a good place to find LGBT books.