The annual report from US-based equality organisation GLAAD - Where We Are On TV - has revealed an increase in LGBTQ representation, with most of the queer characters appearing in content created by streaming platforms such as Netflix.
According to GLAAD's report, there were 245 LGBTQ series-regulars and 113 LGBTQ recurring characters across streaming services Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+, Paramount+, HBO Max, Amazon, Disney+, and Peacock.
Of the streaming services, Netflix is still the frontrunner for queer representation, with 155 LGBTQ characters. The next highest was HBO Max which had 77.
“It is exciting to see quick progress made year-over-year with a new record high percentage of LGBTQ series regulars, as well as increases in underrepresented parts of the community including queer women, transgender characters, and LGBTQ people of color...” said Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis.
“However, we continue to see that LGBTQ inclusion is often found in clusters from a concentrated number of creatives and networks who have prioritised telling our stories...” adds Townsend.
One of the big impacts of the emergence of streaming services is the internationalisation of content. Queer characters and queer storylines created on streamling platforms can now readily be seen all around the world.
However, localised censorship restrictions continues to be a barrier to LGBTQ people seeing themselves represented on screen. For example, LGBTQ storylines were recently removed by censors in China - restricting what audiences saw.
We also recently saw a Malaysian MP petition the government to censor all LGBTQ content on Netflix - in that instance, the request was denied, but it does highlight the tension between the democratisation of streaming services and those governments seeking to restrict what content audiences have access to.