GLAAD Sees Decline in Number of Gay Characters on TV

"Modern Family" stands out as one of TV's most LGBT friendly shows.

September 27, 2011, 3:59 PM

Sept. 28, 2011 — -- TV's not as gay as it used to be.

Today, GLAAD announced that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters account for 2.9 percent of regular characters in primetime scripted broadcast TV for the 2011-12 season. That's down from 3.9 percent in 2010.

The percentage of LGBT characters on primetime scripted cable TV also dipped from last year, according to GLAAD.

Still, representatives for the organization said there's much to celebrate: From "Modern Family" to "True Blood" to "Glee," many of the shows acclaimed by both critics and audiences are also invested in developing LGBT characters.

"We're ecstatic," Matt Kane, GLAAD's associate director of entertainment and media, said about ABC's "Modern Family," which recently won the Emmy for best comedy series for the second year in a row.

"It's a great show, it's a hit with viewers and critics," Kane said. "We're very excited to see how they're going to approach this new storyline of Mitchell and Cameron adopting a second son."

A handful of new and sophomore series also caught GLAAD's attention, among them, ABC's "Happy Endings," which features a gay man whose penchant for football and beer flies in the face of stereotypes, and Fox's upcoming "Allen Gregory," an animated series that co-stars a pair of gay fathers in the story of a hyper-intelligent child voiced by actor Jonah Hill.

Among broadcast channels, Fox emerged as the leader with the most regular LGBT characters, eight.

On cable, GLAAD said that standout series include HBO's "True Blood," with lesbian and gay characters caught up in the occult, and TeenNick's "Degrassi," with Adam, a transgender teen. "Degrassi" won a Peabody award for the two-part episode "My Body Is a Cage."

"We thought 'Degrassi' really captured the reality of what it's like to be a trans teen and trying to survive in high school," Kane said. "There was a lot of discussion between Adam and his mother that we felt rang true and it's the first time we've seen something like that on TV."

But Kane said the organization would like to see more: GLAAD's report found that there are currently no recurring black LGBT characters on broadcast shows.

"I think we're going to see more and more gay characters on both cable and network TV as time goes on," said Herndon Graddick, GLAAD's senior director of programs. "The American public is hungry for diverse characters. They want TV to be reflective of their experience in life."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events