A Dec. 15 report from GLAAD titled “Still Invisible” is calling out the Spanish-language television industry for a lack of LGBTQ characters and a lack of quality narratives for the few who do appear on-screen.
The authors scoured broadcast networks Univision, UniMás and Telemundo for LGBTQ parts on scripted programs during primetime viewing hours, 7 to 11 p.m. Despite a rise in gay, bisexual and transgender recognition in U.S.-based English-language programming and the widening range of TV platforms and content, the ratio of LGBTQ characters for Spanish-language media stayed the same as the previous year: roughly 3 percent — or 19 characters out of 698, as tallied from July 1 2016 to June 30 2017. The previous year’s report found 14 of 516 (also 3 percent).
For this second annual report on “LGBTQ inclusive representation in Spanish-language media,” GLAAD found 13 gay men, 3 lesbians, 2 bisexual women, 1 transgender woman and 0 transgender men characters. Only two of the characters had “fully realized romantic relationships,” the way straight or cisgendered characters often do. Nearly a third of the LGBTQ characters, 6, died at the end of their storylines.
To proactively address the issue, GLAAD launched a campaign to coincide with the report, the #PantallaInclusiva or “inclusive screens” initiative, advocating for an increase in the quality and quantity of LGBTQ representation in Spanish-language media.
Actor Sara Ramirez, who identifies as bisexual and stars on CBS’s Madam Secretary, posted a video to raise awareness of the importance of representation.
According to a UCLA-based Williams Institute study, at least 1.4 million “Latina/o” people in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ and almost 30 percent of those in same-sex couples reported raising children together.
As the president of GLAAD, Sara Kate Ellis, noted in the introduction to the report: “In the increasingly hostile culture of the last several years, more than ever, Latinx LGBTQ people, who are experiencing homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia as well as xenophobia and anti-immigrant biases, need to be represented.”