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Conventional TV Lags Behind as Gay, Transgender Characters Prosper on U.S. Streaming Sites

Update Date: Oct 28, 2015 04:42 PM EDT
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According to a report by GLAAD, U.S streaming sites such as Hulu and Netflix are thriving with the depictions of LGBT people on TV that is not so commonly seen on the cable television. An advocacy organization that is responsible for monitoring LGBT's portrayal on the media said that the transgender characters are not visible on the primetime television at all. However, 7% characters displayed on the streaming services have been transgender, as per Reuters. "Transparent" by Amazon which is a show about a family that includes a transgender father played by Jeffery Tambor has won many awards such as Golden Globes and Emmy in its first season alone. This is the first time that GLAAS has also taken the streaming services into account when conducting a survey.

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD's President explains that "Streaming services aren't shackled to the same revenue models as television, which gives them more freedom to be creative and tell more rich and diverse stories". She added that, "Streaming providers have reshaped the way LGBT stories are told, and we're now seeing traditional entertainment media do its best to catch up". She mentioned the accomplishment of "Transparent," "Sense8" and "Orange Is the New Black" which "can serve as examples to executives that audiences are ready for a new narrative", reports Reuters.

Prime time broadcast, overall, only displays 35 regular LGBT characters on their prime time broadcast network television which comprises of only 4% of the total. The report that while the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender is growing acceptance, racially diverse characters are negligible and characters on-air with disabilities have decreased notably. Ellis says, "Each of us lives at the intersection of many identities. It's important that television characters reflect the full diversity of the LGBT community", says Reuters.

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