Networks Blasted: Too Few Homosexual Characters on TV Shows

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), following a precedent set by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is criticizing the TV networks' fall lineup, in this case saying that 28 gay, bisexual or transgender characters on the new TV shows is not enough.

The group is disappointed that most of the characters are white males, who are gay in name only and have only minor, recurring roles - usually as the butt of jokes, or to provide comic relief. The only gay lead on prime-time television is the character Will Truman of NBC's "Will & Grace."

GLAAD's media director, Scott Seomin, tells the New York Daily News, "If Will Truman doesn't have a date on "Will & Grace" this season, then the network has failed to realistically deliver that sitcom's premise of the life of a gay man." Says Seomin: "With over 540 lead or supporting characters on prime time this fall, the gay community encompasses less than 2 percent of the total portrayals."

Seomin tells the newspaper he's been assured that next season, TV viewers will see the first-ever "passionate kiss" between two male characters.

GLAAD isn't the only group to blast the networks over the diversity issue: Both the NAACP and Latino groups have also complained about the networks' fall lineup, prompting the addition of minority characters in some TV shows.