Increasingly inclusive television: what year awaits us?

What TV awaits us in 2023? It is still early to be able to give a clear and definitive answer, but the assumptions, looking at the past two years, seem encouraging. 

The process of inclusion of diverse personalities and insiders in the TV world has been progressive over the years and, moreover, definitely never taken for granted. The American film and broadcasting industry used to be a shining example of the representation of just the white and heterosexual part of the population, but the world is changing abruptly and with its depiction of the wider society in television both in dramas and in factual programmes, it is a valuable vehicle of ideas and values, as well as a free expression of society. 

The increase in the importance and consideration of LGBTQIA+ people in the public discourse has therefore made it necessary – and sometimes strategic – that their representation in the media and entertainment products should also develop and become consistent. The numbers prove this.

The positive depiction of LGBTQIA+ characters in television dramas is of great assistance to young people just discovering and recognising their own LGBTQIA position. Providing the dramatization is positive, it can give young people the confidence to live their lives without negative feelings or fear of disapproval.

In fact, in 2021 and 2022, the highest number of characters belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community was recorded in TV productions. This is conveyed by the non-profit association Glaad (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) in one of its reports entitled Where we are on TV.

According to Glaad, out of a total of 775 characters in a series broadcast in prime time for the 2021-2022 season, 92 of them are part of the LGBTQIA+ community or 11.9%. In 2022, 2.8 points more than in 2021: an unprecedented result.

For the first time in film history, the largest number of characters are lesbian women (40% of the total), an increase from the previous year. This is followed by gay men (35%), down from 2022. On the other hand, there is an increase in bisexuals with 19 characters or 27% of the total. Another curious and confidence-inspiring fact is that for the fourth year in a row, African-American people belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community continue to outnumber white people, ensuring gender and racial representation. 

In closing, it is fair to point out that, as can be easily guessed, the streaming platform offering – to date – the largest presence of LGBTQIA+ characters is Netflix, with a total of no less than 155 characters. 

Given these premises, therefore, the hope is that 2023, which has just begun, can be an even more inclusive year than the previous ones, in the full conviction and awareness of the insurmountable importance of television and cinema – which have always been considered the main channels capable of narrating all, or almost all, of the cultural changes of the last century – now fully aware of the duty and ambition – not only dictated by the trends of the moment – of how important it is to follow the rhythm of the world and the people who inhabit it before everything becomes a past and forgotten history.

Giorgio Galluzzo, Business Developer

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