Gays on TV

October 2, 2011

GLAAD just release their annual report of LGBT visibility on TV and it looks like Fox (yes, that Fox) and HBO have done right by us this year. Now in it's 16th year, GLAAD's network rankings put Fox and HBO as the the broadcast and cable network, respectively, with the most lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters on television. CBS, with only 1 of their network's 134 series regular being LGBT, came in last place for the fourth year in a row. Unfortunately, the percentages are lower than last year, which is odd given the sheer volume of new shows premiering this year. My DVR is seriously working overtime with all potentially good shows debuting this season. And whether they're representing my people or not, some shows are about to get cut (Ringer, I'm looking at you*). As in dating, new shows get three outings to prove themselves worthy and to my detriment, a bunch of the new shows have been pretty good so far.

What new (or returning) shows have you been enjoying so far? Any other you're looking forward to? Give us some recommendations and reviews in the comments below.

*Though as a Buffyphile I feel terribly guilty not supporting SMG.

Tags: Gay TV, Season Premieres, New Shows, GLAAD
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Post written by RobHeartsDH (View Author Profile)
About this author: Rob lives in Manhattan with his black pug Riley. When he’s not thinking about daddies, he enjoys writing, eating burritos, watching copious amounts of television, and thinking about his next meal.
View all posts by RobHeartsDH


Wait, Fox? Refuge of conservative fools? Tea Bagger central?

Delighted to see this author and site put the lie to those absurd characterizations of Fox. I like Fox. What's not to like? It's a financial success in every regard, it gets people talking, and it's top-tier popular. Moderate/conservative content sells, and you don't even have to be conservative to like and appreciate Fox content.

Wandered over to MSNBC lately? It's where good humor goes to wither and die.

Go Fox!

There's a fundamental difference between "Fox" and "FoxNews". The latter is what is (rightfully) derided as a sham of a "news" network, with opinion dominating fact-based reporting. The former is the network being heralded by GLAAD. While they are both owned by the same company, each has different leadership and different goals.

Your observations are right on target. Fox and Fox News are 2 very different organizations. I cannot stand Fox News and rarely watch it anymore. I went to a new dentist who had just recently opened an office. I sat in this huge empty waiting room. I looked up and they had Fox News on the air. They were doing a story on DADT and when I asked if I could change the channel, the receptionist said "Oh, the 2 dentists would NEVER think of changing that channel".... I responded "well, I can change dentists!" and walked out. I have a great dentist now. They play Spongebob on their TV... one of my favorite gay shows!

Tells alot about your mentality if you like Spongebob over watching Fox News. Pretty sad. If you check the ratings, you will see that Fox News has the highest ratings by far over all the news channels. AT least you hear the truth there and all the stories that the other channels are afraid to show.

A "sham" of a new network??? Why does it have such high ratings,,,yes check Neilsen ratings, 10 times the viewership of MSNBC and four of five times higher that CNN. Those ratings are based on both democratic and republican viewers. What does that tell you??? MSNBC's lies and spins on things make me sick. Thank God that got rid of that a hole Keith Olberman. Their ratings continue to drop and Fox News rating continue to increase...

It's no surprise CBS is last on that list. They pander to the mainstream with bland, boring shows (A Gifted Man, The Good Wife, CSI, yuck).

Ringer is kind of weak and will most likely get cancelled. Revenge is fun, but I'm not sure how long it will last. I'm mostly looking forward to The Walking Dead, Homeland, and Dexter, of course. I'll watch Terra Nova as long as Stephen Lang wears a tight shirt.

I have to disagree on A Gifted Man. I like shows like that. But I totally agree with Terra Nova.

I have to disagree about The Good Wife. Anything with Christine Baranski is worth watching and it's one of the few CBS shows with recurring gay and bisexual characters. It's well written and acted. Sorry if it's not as violent or edgy as cable content but it is possible to get your point across and deal with the moral ambiguity of modern life without using the F word or showing full frontal nudity. (not that I have anything against nudity and four letter words!)

Gays on TV, sure, there have always been gays on TV but in very subtle roles. Yes, now there are more out, in your face open gays but I sort of miss the characters that lived in the neighborhoods and were respected but were as keeping their sexuality private. I love and respect all gays, fem, butch, leather, suits, inked, bears, cubs, otters, the sisters and those who still prefer to live quietly in the midst of families, seniors, neighborhoods or in high rises. We tend to be judgemental about not being out and proud. I believe it's more about being true to your self. I get to talk to a lot of youth in and around my neighborhood. They all want to be individual but they all wrap them selves up in fashion fads, simillar hairstyles and colors or other trends. Now and again comes along a unique individual who shines. We need to embrace individuals, not trends or movements. It is wonderful that more groups are being represented in main stream media, gay among them. Celebrate diversity and the beauty that comes of it.

I so wanted RINGER to have more muscle to it. Lame? I don't know how they got the idea into a pilot except forthe lead - Sarah. It's writing so bad that it's a close race for the final year of BROTHERS and SISTERS - wasn't that a train wreck coming. I would say - I couldn't not watch!
A guilty pleasure but nice to see the first show with two male gay couples on it. My mother walked out of the room in horror when the uncle and Dr Kildare locked lips! AND HIV+. I thought she'd have a stroke. Yeah, go figure - a homophobica Mum for the last 3 decades!

So to the new ones coming up, excite us and thrill us and surprise us. And remember to stay loyal to the character development.

I dropped a great dirty martini the night I saw TRUE BLOOD with SOOKIE saying
BILL'S MORE USELESS THEN TITS ON A TURTLE. Excellent break up bitterness, and what a strong character! Amazing woman. It's the bar to meet - for every other show on TV.

Thanks for your comments.

GLAAD has been asleep at the wheel for the last decade. I hope their new leadership will actually focus on their mandate and mission statement instead being a hand puppet or astroturf front for AT&T and other corporate sponsors' interests.

*WHERE* are the gay heroes on TV? Not fluffy, comic relief or adorable, cuddly home decorators or gabfest host. It is absolutely unacceptable that we are not being broadly represented as kick-ass cops/crime fighters, doctors, lawyers, starship captains, advertising geniuses as central or titular characters. And, why the f* is being gay still portrayed as alternative or somehow shameful or inferior that hetero males are still going to great pains to establish their being 100% hetero? There is no reason why Leroy Jethro Gibbs or G.Callen or Derek Morgan or Olivia Benson or Jane Timoney aren't gay characters.

This crap has to stop. As a 30+ year advocate and activist for gay rights, it deeply offends me that after all these years we have less positive, credible presence on TV and in the media than blacks or other minorities did after far less time of their "awakening." (Those of you who are old enough to remember _I Spy_ with Robert Culp and Bill Cosby in the mid-1960s. Women and Asians were still treated like dreck, but no matter where they went, no one ever batted an eye or treated Cosby's character any differently than a white guy. Many of the cop shows of the 70s added Hispanics without much ado, either. Why isn't this the case with gays?) It offends me even more that the reason for that is more because of my fellow gays NOT making this a priority than it is homophobic network and advertiser executives.

I'm with you on this. I'm equally offended by the gay couple on "Modern Family" with one who goes to work like a "normal" hetero man and the other stays home and is so over-the-top stereotypically "queer" that he is definitely the "wife" in that relationship. I much preferred the gay couple on "Brothers and Sisters," Kevin and Scotty," and that show's treatment of adoption and family values in the gay world.

Why would you be offended by the gay couple on "Modern Family"? They are portraying gays- gay is as gay does.

Look up "gay" in Merriam Websters as "gay" noun is rooted from "gay" adjective: happily excited, merry, bright, lively, brilliant in color and lets not forget given to social pleasure- Licentious (ouch- look that up while you're at it). I'm just homosexual and really offended when anyone refers to me as being "gay" as it's become a socially embraced acceptable slur.

Maybe you're really wanting homosexual characters portrayed in TV instead of gay characters. Papa Bear, a retired NY police detective, was just voted off "Survivor". Since he's homosexual as stated in another DH blog, was he supposed to be portrayed as gay and for what purpose would that have been?

I'm not standing up for the networks, believe me... but , to THEM, it's a business. They have to appeal to the masses with what draws the largest audiences and sells commercial air time. We've come SUCH a long way, and are still moving forward..but in this society , it won't happen over night.
I totally agree with getting more main characters that 'just happen to be gay', and it WILL happen!! We gotta hang in there !!

As for Ringer. It's not yet started in Australia premieres next week. I must say the sneak peek we got has me intrigued.

Terra Nova great concept but can't see it lasting more then 2 maybe 3 seasons.

As for gays in Roles. I love The Big C awesome show with comedic whit.

What's TV? ??????

I'm with CapitalUncut on where are the gay cops? Everytime a new cop show comes on I think well maybe this time, but no they are straight. Although TNT does have Southland with one gay cop I guess is something. Had my hopes up for a couple new shows on USA for lesbian cops, but no they turned out to be straight. So people get to work and bring us some gay cops and maybe investigators on NCIS now that DADT been repealed.

I'm disappointed with LAW AND ORDER: SVU. It's bad enough Eliiott is gone. How come they have a black and jewish detective, and a couple of seasons back, a Native American. Where the hell is the gay detective? Aren't there any gay detectives on the NYPD? They had a few gay cops in some storylines. So what's the problem? It's just like Star Trek: The Next Generation. They kept talking about everyone being accepted in the fuitre. But where were the gay characters? Yes, there were an episode where Dr. Crusher's boyfriend, who was a Trill, went from male to female; and on Deep Space Nine Dax kissed her (his) former wife. Big deal! More gays on TV!

In regard to SVU, the closest we got was having the FBI psychologist, Wong, who happened to be portrayed as a gay man in the show.

Every time I turn on the TV, what seems to be a gay character is usually a fluttering, lisping fairy; if it's a lesbian then it's a tough broad with a texan accent. Mainstream TV urgently needs to update itself.

I really enjoy watching "Modern Family".... but often worry about the gay couple. I mean, both of them are so stereotypically queeny. I keep wondering if either one could be assertive in bed and that they seem seriously mis-matched. More roommates than lovers, much less married.

What looks great on TV doesn't always match up with reality of everyday life and how acceptance doesn't come as easy in ones own neighborhood as it does in the entertainment world. The popular mainstream thing isnt always whats best for everyone since minority groups eventually grow to gain acceptance with time no matter what the opposition of a passing moment in time might bring. Fox is as slanted in its own way as national public radio is in another extreme. Being oneself wont match up with any sterotype or TV characters for sure.

did anyone see the gay couple on "Desp. Houswives"? They wrote and cast those two parts pretty well.

the best gay character on current TV is Max from "Happy Endings" - he is practically central character for the whole gang, and his gayness is not his "main" characteristic, it is just one of them