15 television networks received report cards from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation today when the organization announced findings from its fifth annual Network Responsibility Index. The index is designed to evaluate the quality, quantity, and diversity of LGBT representation in TV programming.
This year's report revealed that 55% of original primetime programming included positive representation of the LGBT community that also reflected the ethnic and racial diversity of the community.
ABC Family and The CW ranked at the top of the class this year, with ABC Family receiving the second-ever "Excellent" rating in the NRI's history, and with The CW besting the other broadcast networks - Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS. Both networks are notably youth-focused, meaning that networks with larger young audiences have seen value in representing young gay people on their shows.
Transgender representation in the 2010-2011 year was still significantly down, or nonexistent on some networks. Degrassi on TeenNick is one of the only shows featuring a regular trans character.
GLAAD's report also looks to showcase racial diversity within the LGBT community, and it's clear that many networks do not adequately portray this racial diversity of LGBT people. ABC Family and The CW scored high, with the first and second highest racial and ethnic diversity in its LGBT impressions this year.
CBS popped up to "adequate" this year, but the network still only has one LGBT character - a bisexual woman on The Good Wife. Fox, with Glee, and ABC, with Grey's Anatomy and Modern Family, ranked "good," and NBC stayed put at "adequate," too.
A&E and TBS scored "failing." A&E's LGBT representation relies mostly on the bisexuality of Ryan Buell, host of Paranormal State, and TBS' LGBT successes are exclusively an Ellen DeGeneres special and a single episode of a black, gay character.
Mike Thompson, who's currently serving as president of GLAAD, explained the significance of the report's findings in a press release today:
As television audiences get to know our community and the common ground that we all share on the screen and in their own lives, acceptance is growing. Inclusive programming is a hit with critics and audiences alike who cheered for Kurt and Blaine's romance on Glee or watched the wedding of Callie and Arizona on Grey's Anatomy.
Check out the full report here.