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GLAAD Study Shows LGBTQ Characters Are ‘Nearly Invisible’ in US Spanish-Language TV

The study is the advocacy organization's first-ever Spanish-language media report.



A new GLAAD study titled “Nearly Invisible” revealed that there are few LGBTQ characters represented in scripted shows on the major US Spanish-language networks, Univision, Telemundo and MundoMax.

According to the advocacy organization, after examining telenovelas airing between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, it found that only 3 percent of characters were identifiable as LGBTQ. It also reported that only 14 of the 516 characters examined were LGBTQ, with only seven of those characters appearing in more than half of episodes aired.

“Ten out of the 14 LGBTQ characters were gay men, two were bisexual women, one was a lesbian, one was a straight transgender woman,” the study reported. “Additionally, no trans men, bisexual men, or LGBTQ persons with disabilities were portrayed.”

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

Monica Trasandes, director of Spanish-language and Latinx Media at GLAAD, stated that the majority of scripted programming on Spanish-language television in the United States “does not appropriately represent the LGBTQ Latinx experience.”

Adding: “Spanish-language media content creators and executives have an opportunity to tell stories that connect with a rich, diverse and complex region and its diasporas by writing non-stereotypical characters and storylines that include people of various racial and ethnic ancestry, sexual orientations, gender identities, and disabilities. This report shows that Spanish-language media makers have not yet lived up to the promise of full inclusion but it is our hope they will soon. It’s good for business and it’s very good for our society.”

READ MORE: TV Creators Agree the State of LGBTQ Characters is Slowly But Surely Improving

The study, which is GLAAD’s first-ever look at Spanish-language media, also reported that most LGBTQ characters tend to be stereotypical.

“We hope these trends are countered by the creation of more Latinx and diverse LGBTQ characters on the novelas written in the US, Mexico, and Latin America,” states the study. “Audiences have grown tired of stereotyped characters and the dearth of romantic and realistic stories for LGBTQ characters.”

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