Study finds record number of gay characters on US TV

WASHINGTON, USA - There's a record percentage of gay characters on US television this season, reflecting Americans' growing acceptance of the LGBT community, media advocacy group GLAAD said Friday, October 5.

In its annual report, the group said there are 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender roles, accounting for 4.4 percent of the 701 characters in scripted dramas and sitcoms on the five US broadcast networks.

The number of LGBT roles on cable television also increased this season to 61, the group added.

"This year's increase of LGBT characters on television reflects a cultural change in the way gay and lesbian people are seen in our society," said Herndon Graddick, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

He added: "As audiences tune into their favorite programs, they expect to see the same diversity of people they encounter in their daily lives."

The previous high came in 2010, when 3.9 percent of the fictional parts on broadcast television were gay. Last year, LGBT characters accounted for just 2.9 percent of the characters on the five networks, said GLAAD.

The high school musical series "Glee" on Fox boasted the most LGBT characters -- six -- of any one show on broadcast television, which historically has been more conservative than cable in its programming.

The uptick comes amid an ongoing debate in the United States over gay marriage, which is fiercely opposed by social conservatives. Three states will vote on the issue next month.

For the first time, in the course of its research, GLAAD also took stock of the race and gender balance on US television shows -- finding that 44.5 percent of all characters are female, 12 percent black and 4.1 percent Latino. - Agence France-Presse