LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES — Television has increased its depiction of gay, lesbian and bisexual characters, with the edge going to cable and the Internet over broadcast networks, according to a study released Wednesday by the advocacy group GLAAD.
Networks are promoting the understanding of gay lives with some of the most inclusive programs yet, but should “strive to include significant transgender content,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, which advocates for the inclusion of LGBT characters and stories in media, in a statement.
Transgender characters are featured on cable and Internet fare such as the online series “Orange Is the New Black” from Netflix and “Transparent” from Amazon.
In this year’s Emmy Award nominations, “Orange Is the New Black” co-star Laverne Cox became the first openly transgender actress to receive a nod.
The overall on-screen progress comes as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has made social and political strides that include legalization of same-sex marriage in some U.S. states and the end of a military ban on openly gay service members.
Among cable TV shows, there were 64 regular LGBT characters, up from 42 last season. HBO has the most characters, followed by ABC Family and Showtime. One transgender character, on ABC Family’s “The Fosters,” was found by the study.
“To be relevant to our audience we must reflect the world as they experience it, and we know that experience is based on valuing loving relationships, no matter the gender. This acknowledgment is especially gratifying because it means we are representing their view accurately,” said Tom Ascheim, president of ABC Family, in a statement.