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U.S. Television Getting Gay and Glad

On Friday, gay rights group Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) released its 8th annual report tracking gender and ethnic diversity on television. According to the report, U.S. television is experiencing an all-time high in openness and acceptance, and instead of adopting a “pray the gay away” sort of biased attitude, it’s no more into ignoring human reality. According to GLAAD a record number of 111 LGBT characters are currently in regular or recurring roles on U.S. television shows.

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said the change in the attitude of TV shows reflected “a cultural change in the way gay and lesbian people are seen in our society.” Herndon said in a statement, “More and more Americans have come to accept their LGBT family members, friends, coworkers, and peers, and as audiences tune into their favorite programs, they expect to see the same diversity of people they encounter in their daily lives.”

TV shows ranging from British period soap like “Downtown Abbey,” through shows for teens like Canada’s “Degrassi,” to hardcore crime and medical series like “Grey’s Anatomy,” all include LGBT characters as part of their plots. Recent hits like “The New Normal,” “Girls,” and “Go On” have helped with creating a better and more humane climate for LGBT persons.

The report noted, shows like Fox high school musical comedy “Glee,” which features a lesbian couple, gay teens and a transgender choir member, and HBO’s vampires and witches series “True Blood” with six LGBT characters, are among the top cable programs that manage to embrace a loyal audience by being inclusive.

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The GLAAD reported that while regular scripted characters of LGBT persons fell to 2.9 percent last year, this year it is up at 4.4 percent and it is expected to go even higher by the 2012-13 season.

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