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GLAAD report finds LGBTQ community severely underrepresented on television

Despite an effort from certain showrunners and networks to increase the amount of gay, lesbian and transgendered characters represented on television, the queer community is still severely underserved, according to a new report.

Conducted by GLAAD, the advocacy group for queer representation in media around the world, the new report found only four percent of new characters on scripted shows airing this fall on broadcast networks identified as LGBTQ. To put that into perspective, out of 881 regular characters, only 35 new characters were gay, with an additional 35 gay or lesbian characters returning for subsequent seasons.

When it came to the representation of transgender people, however, there wasn't one single trans character on any of the basic networks programming line up and only three characters were counted on premium cable shows. While streaming services like Amazon (Transparent) were slightly better, with an overall seven percent of shows portraying a trans character on screen, only one of those characters was a trans man.

"Each of us lives at the intersection of many identities and it's important that television characters reflect the full diversity of the LGBT community," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD in a statement.

Representation of diversity within the LGBTQ community has been an issue for quite some time, but the new report suggests that 71% of queer characters on cable are white.

The report went on to suggest that while certain areas of representation have seen an improvement — the number of bisexual characters has increased from 10 to 18 — these characters still fall into stereotypical depictions.

"It is not enough to just include LGBT characters; those characters need to be portrayed with thought and care to accurately represent an often tokenized community," Ellis said.

The report comes just months after the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism published its own report about the startling lack of diversity in film.

According to that report, only 19 characters in the top 100 films from 2007 to 2014 identified as gay, lesbian or transgendered.

Next month, GLAAD will release a report dedicated to examining the "quantity and quality" of transgender representation on television.

The entire Where We Are On TV report can be read here.

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