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GLAAD Study Finds There Are More LGBTQ Characters Than Ever — but A Lot of Them Are Getting Killed Off

The "bury your gays" trope continues.

Laverne Cox and Ben Vereen in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Laverne Cox and Ben Vereen in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

Steve Wilkie/FOX

The results of GLAAD’s annual “Where We Are on TV” study are in, and the numbers yield mixed results. LGBTQ characters make up a higher percentage of broadcast shows than the 12-year study has ever found, but their depiction still leaves something to be desired: More than 25 lesbian and bisexual characters were killed off in 2016, which some say perpetuates the “bury your gays” trope.

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“While it is heartening to see progress being made in LGBTQ representation on television, it’s important to remember that numbers are only part of the story, and we must continue the push for more diverse and intricate portrayals of the LGBTQ community,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. “GLAAD will continue to work with Hollywood to tell nuanced LGBTQ stories that accelerate acceptance — and hold the networks, streaming services, and content creators accountable for the images and storylines they present.”

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Several records were actually set this season: 4.8 percent of regular characters identify as LGBTQ, 20 percent are black, 1.7 percent have disabilities and the number of transgender characters went from seven to 16.

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