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GLAAD CALLS FOR LGBTQ REPRESENTATION TO INCREASE TO MEET NEW POPULATION STATISTICS
- Last updated: May 24, 2023
GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to a new Gallup poll released today that shows 7.1% of all U.S. adults are LGBTQ, with the number of LGBTQ Americans rising with each generation. According to the poll, 21% of Gen Z is LGBTQ—the highest number of LGBTQ Americans ever recorded by the poll. However, data also shows that LGBTQ representation lags far behind the needs of the population.
Quote from GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis:
“Thanks to increases in visibility, representation, and equality, more and more LGBTQ Americans are able to come out and live as our authentic selves. But the new data shows that we also have a lot of catching up to do before LGBTQ representation meets the needs of Gen Z, which is now 21% LGBTQ. The facts are clear: our community is growing, and we will take our seat at the table.”
LGBTQ representation fails to match the new population numbers, falling far short in elected offices, corporate leadership, news media, and entertainment media.
● Electoral politics: According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s Out For America map of currently-serving out LGBTQ elected officials, only 0.2% of elected offices across the U.S. are held by out LGBTQ people.
● Corporate leadership: Only 0.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs are LGBTQ. Of the 500 major corporate leaders listed in the Fortune 500 in 2020, only 4 CEOs were openly LGBTQ, according to the magazine’s most recent assessment.
● News Media: No single report quantifies LGBTQ representation in news coverage, but GLAAD reports have found a lack of LGBTQ representation in specific coverage areas. GLAAD’s 2021 analysis of news coverage of the Equality Act—a proposed law that would offer federal nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans for the first time—found that 9 out of 17 leading outlets failed to quote a single LGBTQ community member or advocate (52%), and the overwhelming majority of articles failed to quote a single transgender person. Another report, on LGBTQ representation in Southern news media, found that at least one major news outlet in each of the 9 Southern states studied failed to publish a single LGBTQ story over an 18-month period.
● Television: Entertainment media shows more representation, but still not enough to match Gen Z’s LGBTQ population. GLAAD’s 2021-2022 Where We Are On TV report, released today, shows 11.9% of characters appearing in the 2021-2022 broadcast season are LGBTQ—the highest amount ever recorded. But representation still lags for select populations; GLAAD counted only two characters living with HIV, only two asexual characters, and a decline in LGBTQ characters with disabilities.
● Film: Hollywood is slowly catching up to the population increase; GLAAD’s 2021 Studio Responsibility Index shows that while 22% of 2020 major studio films studied did have at least one LGBTQ character, only half of the LGBTQ characters were given more than 10 minutes of screen time. And zero of those characters were transgender or nonbinary, zero were LGBTQ people with a disability, and only one character was bisexual.
LGBTQ inclusion and representation must increase in all areas in order to meet the needs of the population. With the eldest members of Generation Z preparing to vote in this fall’s midterm elections, especially, LGBTQ issues are of increasing importance to voters. LGBTQ voters provided the deciding edge for the pro-equality presidential ticket in 2020 with a surge of new registrations. In October 2020, a GLAAD-Pathfinder Opinion Research poll found that 88% of LGBTQ Americans were registered to vote.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
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