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US: The number of LGBT characters on TV has increased, GLAAD study finds

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  1. Neat, now can we get some trans characters? You brits are lucky, you got Hit and Miss this year.

    1. While never having seen it myself (don’t like most TV) there has also been a trans character in a major prime time soap. I’d stand corrected if those who know better than me say it’s bad representation – but the character has been in Coronation Street since the late 90s.

  2. GingerlyColors 6 Oct 2012, 6:46am

    It is great that we are seeing more LGBT characters on British television as well. It will help if TV producers didn’t keep killing them off though!

  3. At this rate, “One Million Moms” might as well just boycott TV altogether.
    Not that the major networks will notice a few hundred people missing from their viewing statistics.

    1. A few hundred? You’re too kind to them :D

  4. Good news. I look forward to the day when LGBT characters are just *there* – not with their sexuality as the issue, not with their sexuality as a device to introduce a plot, just as doctors, lawyers, nurses, cops, wives, dads etc etc who happen to be LGBT.

    1. Agree very much. I would far sooner have – say – a starship captain who was gay, rather than a lesbian who also happened to be a starship captain. The same tedious recycled tropes – the coming out, the angst, the hand-wringing, the familial dramas – have been done to death and it’s time to move on.

      Honestly, I can only think of one show even coming close. Canadian, distinctly odd and a little niche, but with an LGBT title character for whom her sexual orientation has been a non-issue since episode 1 (a non issue to her or other characters – obviously viewers find more meaning in it). And it proves that LGBT characters can – and do – appeal to everyone, since its popularity exceeds a minority audience.

      But I won’t hold my breath for much better, and anticipate little more than tokenism in any foreseeable future.

      1. Now I’m seeing if I can think what show you mean :D Canadian,LGBT title character? Ummmm….*brain turns very slowly on a Saturday afternoon*…. Do you mean Lost Girl? Something else?

        I was in BSG territory for a while when you mentioned starship captains. The lack of LGBT characters in (N American) sci-fi p*sses me off no end, but that’s another topic. Put me out of my misery, please, and say what show you had in mind in your comment above :D

        1. I did indeed mean the show you mentioned – Lost Girl (I hesitate to be taken as recommending something to people I don’t know, it is an odd little show). We shall wait and see if it loses any of its progressive Canadian sensibilities and takes on too much of the US now a cable channel has its paws all over it.

          I do tend to lean towards science fiction as a genre – it is often more favourable to women in general. Before I even start thinking of LGBT representation I am persistently exasperated by the roles for women on TV. In terms of future or alternate visions for humanity, I associate science fiction with being more progressive.

          1. Ooh! *beams* Normally my guesses are miles out so I’m very pleased I didn’t embarrass myself there :D Thank you for clarifying which show you meant. Yes, it is a bit odd but very watchable :)

            I think you’re right about sci fi but even in that I rage at sexism. I remember looking at a book that purported to be a definitive ‘best of’ science fiction writing collection and there wasn’t a single female writer amongst them. Every single author was male, and certainly not better than a few major female writers I could name. Again, the thinking seemed to be that science fiction writing was a male domain – technology, explosions, heroics, etc.

            Sci fi shows on TV do tend to show women as more equal and seem to make an effort to do so, bearing in mind the future settings, I suppose. But it’s still sad that in the 21st century we have to look to dramas set decades or even centuries ahead to see a more equal society.

          2. Babylon 5 had a lesbian romance, I believe, without any great hoo-ha. More allusion than anything else, but no great angst either. That was a while ago now, of course.

            I was a sci-fi fan, and was pleased as women got past the nurse/counsellor roles. It has a way to go but science fiction seems to embrace diversity first.

          3. Thanks for that, Jimmy. I’ve got DVDs of Babylon 5 but have yet to get round to watching many because I’m so horribly behind. Hmm, but allusion? I’d be interested to see how it was portrayed. The sci fi show that annoyed me beyond belief was Stargate Universe – quite happy to show straight couples shagging, but the lesbian couple were shown……chopping vegetable! Not a hint of anything physical in that same season that was full of straight sex. Double standards yet again.

          4. Er…chopping vegetableS. My typo made it look a bit like it was some strange euphemism :D

          5. That’s true, B5 did have the intent to have a major LGBT character and it was a shame that one of the actresses left the show.

            The Star Treks did occasionally have a go to handle the subject – sometimes in metaphor, sometimes via sweeps week bisexuality – but at least the women had reasonable roles other than supportive wife and loving mommy…

    2. I look forward to that as well, although at least as the TV shows work their way through the tropes they are showing LGBT characters as all of the above,

  5. We seem to have got past the shock, horror at same-sex couples kissing on screen. I have high hopes – I hope they aren’t misplaced – of all shades of LGBT characters just becoming part of normal programming, and not just the token gays. There is a dearth of bi and trans characters

    Like Iris and Valksy, I would like to see gay characters in a major role, solving the crime, saving lives, and coming home to their family, without the angst that seems to accompany gay storylines at the moment.

    1. I always hold my breath when a new show starts and the hero/heroine goes home to their partner – will it just maybe be someone of the same sex? But no… And there’s no reason why it couldn’t be. It often doesn’t seem to occur to the writer unless the hero/heroine’s sexuality is going to be an issue or they’re there as some kind of token LGBT person. Of course, it’s not just LGBT people who are under-represented on television. There can be a big lack of diversity overall.

      1. I know Torchwood is hardly representative, but one of things I loved about that programme was that all sexuality, gender and race was irrelevant; It just was.

        I wish we had more programmes that either embraced diversity or accepted it as part of life.

        Having said that I was watching a topical comedy show populated by white men, not one single woman or non-white. Maybe I’m expecting too much.

  6. That Matt 6 Oct 2012, 4:15pm

    I’d say it was more LGB. I can count the number of trans people that I have EVER seen on fictional TV on a single hand. Trans awareness is a huge problem and needs to be addressed, although I appreciate that gay people are getting more representation.

  7. It doesn’t change anything for me as long as these characters are original, complex and well-developed characters as opposed to the same old stereotypes of LGBT people I am tired of seeing, like the effeminate flaming gay such as Chris Crocker and Kurt Hummel.

  8. Christopher in Canada 6 Oct 2012, 10:52pm

    Glee’s “Unique” reminds me of 70’s and 80’s disco star Sylvester. (Not the cat…)

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