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The CW Has More LGBTQ Series Regular Characters Than Any Other Broadcast Network

LGBTQ representation on TV is up overall, GLAAD reports

Amanda Bell

LGBTQ representation on the small screen is up for the 2019-2020 season, according to GLAAD's latest media report, titled "Where We Are on TV." In its annual study on the state of representation on television, the organization reports the highest percentage of LGBTQ series regular characters since it began keeping track of the statistic 15 years ago.

GLAAD reports that over the past year, the number of LGBTQ series regular characters on broadcast scripted primetime shows has jumped from 75 to 90. The data stems from a review of the 879 series regulars from 111 primetime shows across the broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, and NBC.

GLAAD also revealed that of those networks, The CW leads the pack when it comes to LGBTQ representation onscreen. Out of The CW's series regular characters, 15.4% are LGBTQ. NBC follows with 12.5%, then ABC at 10.4%, Fox at 7.9%, and CBS at 5.5%.

The CW series cited for representation are Black Lightning, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman, which features the first lesbian superhero title character in Ruby Rose's Kate Kane. Meanwhile, Fox's upcoming 9-1-1: Lone Star has also made history with the casting of Brian Michael Smith, the first black transgender man to be a series regular; he will play the first black transgender series regular character on broadcast television.

The Most Important LGBTQ Characters of All Time

The streaming scene has also made some strides, with 109 LGBTQ regular characters across Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix and an additional 44 recurring characters on their original series. Of those platforms, Netflix features the most LGBTQ characters at 121. Hulu trails with 24, and Amazon has just 8. GLAAD's report does note that the two most LGBTQ-inclusive shows on Netflix --Tales of the City and Orange Is the New Black-- won't be returning next year.

On cable, GLAAD counts 121 LGBTQ characters among scripted primetime series and 94 recurring characters. Showtime offers the most representation of the cable networks, with 38 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters -- a number owed mostly to the upcoming debut ofThe L Word: Generation Q, though it also includes characters from Billions, The Chi, Kidding,The Affair, Black Monday,Ray Donovan, and Shameless. FX follows with 31 regular and recurring characters, which is an uptick from last year's 23 characters, and Freeform follows with 26 LGBTQ regular and recurring characters.

In its 2018-2019 edition of the same report, GLAAD issued a challenge to the industry to, within two years, include at least 10 percent of LGBTQ series regular characters. GLAAD wrote that the number has been met and exceeded in just one year.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)

​Ruby Rose, Batwoman

Ruby Rose, Batwoman

Kimberley French/The CW