There are more queer characters on television than ever before. According to GLAAD’s annual ”Where We Are On TV” report, 2019 was a banner year for LGBTQ+ representation on the small screen. Things of course aren’t perfect, but there have been some major strides.
“Last year, GLAAD called on the television industry to increase the number of LGBTQ characters and more accurately reflect the world we live in, and they responded by exceeding this challenge,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. “At a time when the cultural climate is growing increasingly divisive, increased representation of LGBTQ stories and characters on television is especially critical to advance LGBTQ acceptance.”
According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters now account for 10.2 percent of all series regulars on scripted primetime programming in the US, up a percentage point and a half from last year. And shows like Pose have contributed to a banner year in representation for trans people (there are now 38 regularly recurring trans characters on US television.) Queer women now outnumber queer men on tv, and queer characters of color outnumbered queer white characters for the first time. There was also an increase in bisexual characters and HIV+ characters. Representation of asexual people and characters with disabilities has remained mostly stagnant.
In a July interview with W, Pose star Billy Porter spoke about what it was like to be part of such a historic cast. “This show gets to sort of reclaim our place in the world,” he said. “Five transgender actresses of color lead our cast and it's the largest LGBTQ cast in history. I'm very proud to be a part of telling this story that is about a marginalized group of people that don't get a lot of shine. Don't get talked about very often.”