Think back to the 70s. The idea of having a majority of LGBTQ+ characters on television today would seem IMPOSSIBLE. The actors on television screens were run predominately by white, heterosexual individuals. Today, that is still true. However, the rate of LGBTQ+ representation is skyrocketing at the years go by. The infographic I made above displays the key concept of how there is a rise in LGBTQ+ roles in primetime television, but there could be improvements in areas, especially race.
Specifics on LGBTQ+ Elements in Television
Using the information from Glaad’s 2016 report and an article from The Guardian on the same topic, I took prime details to formulate the central argument. The specific data points, as seen above, draw out a broad idea of where the LGBTQ+ community currently stands in media. These components are compared to their straight counterparts and are then looked at among LGBTQ+ breakdowns, race, and disabilities. The order of my visualization starts from the basic understanding of LGBTQ+ characters in relation to straight roles, where heterosexual roles take up a majority of the characters in television. Narrowing down, we then examine how gay males predominately take over LGBTQ+ roles compared to their lesbian, bisexual, and transgender counterparts. It is no shock that they take over more roles, however, improvement can be made in this area by supporting other LGBTQ+ roles in television to give them a spotlight. Next, disabilities of all sexualities seen in media are always highly underrepresented, and media outlets can contribute by hiring characters of disability. However, there has been an increase as seen in the infographic from last year which is a small stepping stone for more inclusion of LGBTQ+ roles with disabilities.
The biggest discrepancy was in LGBTQ+ diversity. The infographic clearly shows a number of these roles are played by white characters. Trailing way behind is black characters, and television companies need to take initiative to increase diverse roles. The portrayal of having more white people can affect other areas of media. An article on The Guardian states, about newspapers “The people who are most likely to appear in these kinds of stories are the least likely to have a say in how those stories are told “ (Cobb, 2018). This was about new stories getting covered by people of another ethnic minority. If white people were to write about movies on black, Asian, or multicultural storylines, would they have the full advantage of understanding the storyline if they come from a different background? Diversity should be represented in media among all sexualities and in the newsroom so there is a wide range of cultural understandings to highlight events.
Having Knowledge of the Full Rainbow
My infographic was intended to emphasize areas of LGBTQ+ representation on television. Some areas were meant to show how we are progressing as a society towards the community. Some aspects were meant to be a mark on how we can improve in showing more inclusion among LGBTQ+ characters.