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27 Oct 2015 12:43
The cast of Orange is the New Black. (Reuters)
U.S. streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu are leading the way with depictions of
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on television, most notably with
transgender characters, and are far outpacing network and cable television,
according to a GLAAD report.
organisation, which monitors how the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
community is portrayed in the media, said its 20th annual television survey
released on October 27 found that transgender characters are completely absent
from primetime broadcast programming.
But seven percent
of characters on streaming services were transgender, including two series
leads. Amazon’s Transparent, about a family with a transgender father played by
Jeffrey Tambor, racked up top awards including Emmys and Golden Globes in its
It was the first year that GLAAD has included streaming services
in its survey.
only three recurring transgender characters on cable television, which equates
to two percent representation, and one of those, Penny Dreadful‘s Angelique, has since met her demise.
services aren’t shackled to the same revenue models as television, which gives
them more freedom to be creative and tell more rich and diverse stories,”
explained Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s president.
providers have reshaped the way LGBT stories are told, and we’re now seeing
traditional entertainment media do its best to catch up,” she added,
citing the success of Transparent, Sense8 and Orange
Is the New Black which “can serve as examples to executives that
audiences are ready for a new narrative.”
time broadcast network television featured 35 regular gay, lesbian or bisexual
characters, or four percent of the total.
report found that overall representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender television characters is growing, racially diverse characters are
lacking, and on-air characters living with disabilities had actually decreased.
us lives at the intersection of many identities,” said Ellis. “It’s
important that television characters reflect the full diversity of the LGBT
which covered series airing or expected to air from June 1 through May 31, 2016, did not survey reality programs such as I Am Cait, which
stars Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, who was once known as Bruce Jenner before coming
out earlier this year as transgender.
It called for more
racially diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters across all
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