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    Where We Are on TV Report 2023-2024

    Representation of Nonbinary Characters Who Aren’t Transgender

    The past several years have seen the word nonbinary used to describe a range of experiences. It is an umbrella term to describe people whose gender identity and/or gender expression falls outside the gender categories of “man” or “woman.” Many nonbinary people also call themselves transgender and are part of the transgender community. Other nonbinary people say they are not transgender or never use the word transgender to describe themselves. 

    Historically, GLAAD counted all nonbinary characters as transgender, but four years ago, given the evolution of the word nonbinary, GLAAD changed the methodology to count these nonbinary characters who are not transgender separately.  For the purposes of this study, if the networks confirm the character is transgender, or if the nonbinary character mentions being trans on screen, that character is counted as both transgender and nonbinary. If the creators confirm that the character is not trans, the character explicitly says they are not transgender on screen, or if the word transgender is never brought up in the series, the character was then counted as nonbinary, but not transgender.

    This year, in addition to the eight transgender nonbinary characters counted across all three platforms, there are 16 nonbinary characters who are not transgender. However, many of these characters have so little screen time they only barely met our methodology criteria.

    This year, Amazon’s Gen V gave us Jordan Li, a superpowered college student who switches between genders and is played by two cisgender actors. Though Jordan is counted in our methodology, it is disheartening to see a character used as a metaphor for gender diversity, as opposed to simply including a nonbinary character in the show. 

    Highlights of nonbinary representation include Casey on Hallmarks’ The Way Home, Nico on ABC’s Will Trent, Dr. Azel on The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy, and James on Netflix’s Heartbreak High.

    Representation of transgender characters Alex Schmider Headshot

    “We know the impact that television can have on cultural acceptance for transgender people. Especially with the public’s lack of personal familiarity with us and the escalated level of anti-trans attacks and rhetoric targeting our community, this year’s dramatic decrease in trans and nonbinary characters on television is extremely concerning. Hollywood must recognize the call from audiences to reflect the world around us, which includes trans and nonbinary people, and take into account the great responsibility of television as a vehicle to accelerate acceptance. The stakes of transgender representation – or its absence – have never been higher. It’s imperative that Hollywood, for its own success and our own livelihood, seize the opportunity and recognize the necessity of telling authentic and accurate stories about the trans community.”

    – Alex Schmider. Senior Director of Entertainment & Transgender Inclusion, GLAAD

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