Is Hollywood Gay Enough?

Linda Sharps

Did you know that True Blood is one of the most diverse series on television? No, not because of the vampires and humans and shapeshifters and werepanthers and all. It's because according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), True Blood is the gayest show ever.

The steamy supernatural show is at the top of GLAAD's annual survey of shows with the most gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered characters, with a total of six regular and recurring LGBT characters. True Blood's gaytastic ensemble contributes to an overall increase of 40% as compared to last year's survey. ABC continues to lead other broadcast networks with 11 LGBT characters, while HBO is at the forefront of the cable pack.

GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios is mostly happy about the survey results, saying in a statement:

"The increase in lesbian, gay, and bisexual characters on primetime television not only reflects the shift in American culture toward greater awareness and understanding of our community but also a new industry standard that a growing number of creators and networks are adopting. The recent critical and commercial success of shows like 'Modern Family' and 'Glee' clearly indicate that mainstream audiences embrace gay characters and want to see well-crafted stories about our lives."

He did, however, go on to say:

“Unfortunately, while the number of characters is increasing, many members of our community still do not see stories reflecting their lives."

Yeah, if the show that currently includes the most LGBT characters is about vampires, I'm thinking not everyone identifies with that 100%. On the other hand, it's pretty rare that I watch a TV show and think, hey, that character's just like me! (That would be the. Most. Boring. Show. Ever.)

Also, according to Barrios,

"It is troubling that the broadcast networks will not feature even one black LGBT character or one transgender character in the upcoming prime-time lineup."

At first I was like, wait, what about Lafayette on True Blood?—but I believe he's referring to non-cable networks. Anyway, I've never thought about this topic before, and it's interesting. I kind of feel like while it would be ideal to have more diverse characters that are just characters, not caricatures, it's probably better to have no prime-time characters playing this demographic if the alternative is to show them in a stereotypical fashion. And I totally think they would be. I mean, can you imagine a transgendered character on a prime-time show NOT being stereotyped? So I guess for that reason alone, TV's still got a way to go when it comes to the LGBT community.

But I also sort of think it's silly to insist that the stuff we watch for entertainment purposes accurately reflect every single conceivable lifestyle. You know?

What do you think—is Hollywood gay enough yet?

Image via HBO

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