More Gays, No Lesbians in New TV Lineup

A study released by the Gay & Lesiban Alliance Against Defamation says that there will be more gay and bisexual characters on television this fall. There will be 16 gay and bisexual regular characters in prime-time series more than double the seven of a year ago.
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However, there will be no depictions of lesbians, outside of the series “The L Word” (slated to end in 2009).
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The majority of parts for women feature bisexual characters. There are five bisexual women, including the characters of Callie Torres and Erica Hahn on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Most commonly, story lines feature women who either have lovers of both genders or are possibly coming out as lesbian but there are no actual lesbian characters.
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However, the GLAAD said there are positive signs of networks making their shows more representative, although more work needed to be done. These characters accounted for 2.6 percent of all the regular characters in TV series, up from 1.1 percent last year and 1.3 percent in 2006, according to the study, released Monday.

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GLAAD President Neil Giuliano singled out Fox for having five such regular characters this fall, considering there were none a year earlier. The character Thirteen on “House” is bisexual, while the new “Do Not Disturb” has a gay man.

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None of the 126 regular characters on CBS shows are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, GLAAD said, and only one recurring character — Brad on “Rules of Engagement — is gay.

ABC will have seven characters that are either gay men or bisexual women this fall, NBC will have three and the CW will have one, according to GLAAD.

A total of 19 recurring characters, those who appear only time to time, fit the category, GLAAD said. That’s up from 13 a year ago.

The number of regular characters fitting the definition fell from 40 to 32 on mainstream cable networks, a count that doesn’t include the gay-oriented networks Logo and here

“As the networks gradually add characters from all backgrounds and all walks of life to prime-time programming, more and more Americans are seeing their LGBT friends and neighbors reflected on the small screen,” Giuliano said.

The lobbying group has been monitoring the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters on TV for four years.

2 responses to “More Gays, No Lesbians in New TV Lineup

  1. My girlfriend is bisexual. She I have been together for three years and I have yet to see a relationship like our on TV. This is because I am a man. Last week I tried posting a profile for my girlfriend and me on Subverge.com. Subverge.com is a new lesbian dating website and so I posted a profile because I wanted to find a lesbian who would let me watch while she had sex with my girlfriend. Within the hour my profile has been deleted. I post the same profile a couple more time and both times, it’s deleted. I post the fourth time and get this email back from the site administrator saying:
    “Thank you for your interest in joining our community. After reviewing your profile we feel that your goals in using the site might be disturbing to others, and you do not match our intention of having a community For women By women.” My girlfriend doesn’t want to post a profile because she isn’t out of the closet about being bisexual so I had no choice but to post for both of us. She and I both feel we are an underrepresented minority within the gay community, though. Is there no community out there that supports the idea of men who enjoy watching their girlfriend have sex with lesbians? Why aren’t characters like my girlfriend and me ever portrayed on TV? If we were portrayed on TV then maybe lesbians would be less discriminating again men who love lesbians.

    -Anonymous (I am anonymous to protect my girlfriend who doesn’t want people to know she is a lesbian)

    FYI– My girlfriend and I decided we would never get married to show solidarity with the gay community because of the ban on gay marriage.

  2. Dear Anon,

    I’m not exactly certain why you chose to post this on GPG. I guessing you felt this was a forum where you could complain about a lesbian dating site when the site itself wouldn’t give you the airspace.

    Honestly, I think you’re confused and it’s not your fault. You’ve been done a disservice by the porn industry and the popular media, both of which are equally entranced by images of girls kissing girls.

    Kissing a girl doesn’t make a girl a lesbian. Especially in a movie, on TV, or in the pages of a gossip magazine. If it did, The L Word actresses would all be lesbians, wouldn’t they? I hate to be a scene-spoiler, but most of them aren’t.

    By popular definition, lesbians desire intimacy and sexual contact exclusively with other women. I say this understanding there are always grey areas. But adding men to this equation generally equals bisexuality.

    So, by this definition, your girlfriend isn’t a lesbian, even if it turns you on to say so (and I suspect it does). Likewise, a woman who defines herself as lesbian most likely doesn’t want to have sex with you, or any other guy, in the room. I know it’s hard to grok, but it would probably be a complete buzz-kill for her.

    You and your girlfriend need to look for play partners who advertise in spaces for experimental lovers, bisexual lovers, swinging couples, threesomes, and like-minded folk.

    Hanging out in self-defined lesbian dating space, hoping to snag a woman who wants a M-F couple won’t get you very far (as I think you found out). There are lots of reasons women in women-seeking-women spaces online don’t feel safe with men in the virtual room, but it’s too late at night to launch into explanations of psychology and the patriarchy. I need to get up early.

    Note: I suggest your girlfriend participate equally in any ads you place or answer together. You don’t need to post her picture if she’s concerned about her privacy. Potential partners will want to know she’s just as interested and willing as you are, and not being talked into something she’s uncertain about. They’ll believe it even more if she places the ads herself.

    Good luck.

    GPG

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