GLAAD Releases Gay & Lesbian TV Report...But Excludes Soaps



Today, The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) released its third annual Network Responsibility Index, a report measuring gay, lesbian, and trangender representation on television on various major networks including broadcast & cable covering the broadcast period from June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009. From the report:

Of the broadcast networks, ABC and the CW received "Good" scores, Fox was marked "Adequate," and NBC and CBS were marked "Failing." While the report takes into account the substance of portrayals up to a point, much of a network's score is based on the simple visibility of characters...On the cable side, HBO was the clear winner (vampires count!), emerging as "Good" (as did Showtime, though with a lower score), while networks including Lifetime and FX were "Adequate" and A&E and TBS were "Failing."

Oddly, daytime serials were not included.

My Take: I find it extraordinarily curious that GLAAD, which has several representatives and bloggers speak and write about As The World Turns' Luke (Van Hansis) & Noah (Jake Silbermann), Guiding Light's Olivia (Crystal Chapell) & Natalia (Jessica Leccia) or All My Children's Bianca (Eden Riegel) & Reese (Tamara Braun) in many interviews or on its website did not include soaps in its survey. If their goal is to track LGBT representation, how do these characters, including Passions' Simone (Cathy Jeneene Doe) — all of which aired during the period covered in their survey — not merit inclusion in the study? Yes, the study only covers prime time but that in and of itself reveals the flaw of it.

GLAAD's evaluation goes so far as to include reality shows, but how can they point out CBS, for example, for not including gays & lesbians in their scripted dramas while ignoring two scripted dramas on that network with LGBT characters who are wildy popular among many in the LGBT community? Just because they air in the daypart? Making this even worse is that GLAAD has honored several daytime dramas with accolades and awards for their performers and storylines.

Normally GLAAD does excellent work, including its recognition of soaps. Given the organization's mission however, the exclusion of daytime soaps from their study — of which at the time of study numbered only eight shows — is, in my opinion, inexcusable.

The full report can be downloaded from GLAAD's website here.


Comments

Member since:
18 April 2009
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Very sad indeed especially that daytime is the only form of media that is consistently telling these tales. Like or hate the way they are letting the tales be told those kind of 'new for daytime' characters are there. Where night time has about three to speak of and they all seem to be on CBS.

SAD!

Member since:
16 December 2007
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I agree J.By excluding daytime they do not get a clear picture of representation. CBS is getting a fail yet they have gay characters and stories on 3 soaps.

Member since:
5 July 2008
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Whats Up GLADD. Recoginize Daytime. UGHH

david46208's picture
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15 January 2009
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Thanks J. All the other sites that talk about this segment of soap characters never mention the African American ones. It's a shame that Nuke gets more praise when Simone and Rae did the do in the bed and kissed on air. Also Chad and Vincent did the do as well and often.

david46208's picture
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Thanks J. All the other sites that talk about this segment of soap characters never mention the African American ones. It's a shame that Nuke gets more praise when Simone and Rae did the do in the bed and kissed on air. Also Chad and Vincent did the do as well and often.

Member since:
21 April 2008
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Is it possible that daytime was omitted because all of the same-sex storylines on daytime so far have either been busts from the start or started out strongly, like Otalia, only to devolve into a bundle of annoying and offensive cliches? Maybe they did daytime a favor by not pointing out that they've bungled their same-sex relationship stories every bit as badly as they've bungled every other kind of story.

I would disagree that CBS has gay characters on three of their four soaps. Y&R and ATWT do but GL has pigheadedly refused to allow Olivia or Natalia to be labeled as lesbian or even bisexual. They haven't even kissed one another for goodness sake! As of right now, they were nothing more than hand-holding BFFs who were briefly in a Boston-marriage. There was major potential there to tell a fantastic same-sex love story but GL blew it by sticking Otalia in neutral after their feelings for each other were revealed and they engaged in no physical contact, certainly nothing intimate. That killed alot of the storyline's momentum. Then came the uber-cliched pregnancy and Olivia's meltdown. Frankly, it doesn't really matter what they have planned for the four weeks following Natalia's return, the damage has been done to this couple and a great opportunity was squandered with bad decisions and even worse writing.

Y&R's Phillip III has been a complete ass ever since returning, refusing to acknowledge the pain he caused by faking his death and abandoning his son. If he did that, he might be somewhat sympathetic but he comes off as a selfish jackass who doesn't give a damn about the hell he left in his wake.

ATWT is the only one of the CBS shows to have an actual same-sex couple on it and it took them how long to let them kiss onscreen and actually have sex? Two years?

OLTL's Kyle and Fish story has barely gotten off the ground so there's no way to tell yet but AMC's most recent Bianca story was atrocious and riddled with cliches. U-haul lesbians, lesbians desperate for sperm, lesbians only needing a good man, etc. You name the lesbian cliche and Pratt threw it in there.

If daytime wants accolades, they need to do a lot better than they have.

J Bernard Jones's picture
Member since:
9 September 2008
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2 hours 18 min

Is it possible that daytime was omitted because all of the same-sex storylines on daytime so far have either been busts from the start or started out strongly, like Otalia, only to devolve into a bundle of annoying and offensive cliches?

No. The study, which can be downloaded in the links posted, primarily focused on the quantity of characters. Quality of stories was only secondary consideration and took up very little of the report.

I would disagree that CBS has gay characters on three of their four soaps.

Not exactly relevant to the study. Although the point you disagree with was brought up by another poster, the gay & lesbian characters on soaps that would have been covered during the period of evaluation would have included Olivia & Natalia and Luke & Noah (as well as others as I pointed out in the original posting) given that GLAAD's study did not specify or make any allowance for gay & lesbian identified characters.

If daytime wants accolades, they need to do a lot better than they have.

GLAAD has already honored Luke & Noah (see the photo in the story of Hansis and Silbermann at a GLAAD awards ceremony) and the organization bloggers/interviewed subjects have frequently lauded Otalia and Nuke in various stories, as stated.

Member since:
11 April 2009
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2 weeks 3 days

David,

Chad and Vincent? They were uncle and nephew/niece. Honoring them would have been ridiculous.

david46208's picture
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15 January 2009
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Chad and Vincent got more action than of any of the gays on television before it was revealed they were related. So that is still worth mentioning. I mean you actually saw the action.

They was "Puffin' and Buffin'" right before our very eyes.

Member since:
8 May 2008
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5 hours 48 min

What David was saying is that James went there and wasn't afraid of the backlash unlike other soaps that say they are going to do a gay s/l but chicken out. I love and loath Passions s/ls, but I got to give credit to Reilly, he gave us a diverse cast and give most of the characters equal screen time.

Member since:
28 July 2009
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3 years 23 weeks

David and David jr-siomonstuart are incredible!!!!!! you complain about realistic storylines on Y&R but praise that nonsense JERk had on Passions?! Glaad should smack down people for that thinking!!

Member since:
28 July 2009
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3 years 23 weeks

that type of thinkin is the reason why soaps do not show gays and minorities at all or in good lights.

Member since:
8 May 2008
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5 hours 48 min

I like Passions in the beginning, but it gotten to be crazy. I only the Reilly fan on Days when Carly got buried alive. But I praise Reilly for giving the show a diverse cast and have a gay scene, unlike other soaps that said they are going to do it but is not.

Member since:
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At least Passions went there with Chad and Vincent and Simone and Rae unlike other soaps that are afraid of losing sponsors and ad revenue. I hated the crazy mess, but I give Reilly props for it. Unlike GL, ATWT, and Y&R that said we going to treat gays as like any other couple but don't.

Member since:
28 July 2009
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3 years 23 weeks

ANd where is Passions now? OFF THE AIR! That thinkin u have is the reason why people have crazy thoughts of gays now!

AlistairCrane's picture
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4 May 2008
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I agree with siomonstuart2003. Chad and Vincent actually got naked and had sex on screen!

JER (and Passions as a whole) was daring and not afraid to go there.

Simone was a very well-rounded character, and a stable, grounded, happy lesbian character. She's just as good a role model as Bianca on AMC.

AlistairCrane's picture
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4 May 2008
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What's with the mad hate-on for Passions, crusher? LOL!

Passions is not "off the air" because of its gay storylines or anything like that. It's off the air because DirecTV screwed them over.

Why do you insist on bashing Passions when it's been off the air for a year now?

Member since:
28 July 2009
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3 years 23 weeks

So what if the show's gone I can still talk about it just like u bashing that Khalil girl. Passions went there? whatEVA! they sucked with showing gays and hispanics.

J Bernard Jones's picture
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9 September 2008
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Josstheguy, you wrote:


Chad and Vincent? They were uncle and nephew/niece. Honoring them would have been ridiculous.

Actually — to reiterate — the GLAAD study wasn't about "honoring" anyone. The Network Responsibility Index is at its core a tally of gays & lesbians and grades each network surveyed accordingly. It makes no distinctions between closeted gays & lesbians or LGBT identified persons. It makes no distinctions between co-habitating lesbian reality show contestants or Black drug dealing homosexuals who consort with vampires.

So, yes, had the GLAAD report included daytime, Chad and Vincent would/should have been counted, not "honored."

Member since:
11 April 2009
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J. Bernard,

Hi. Thanks for trying to clear up any confusion.

Actually, I understand about the counting. Since Passions was canceled before the 2008/2009 season, I didn't think it would be included in this report.

I used the word "honor" specifically in reference to the accolades that gay groups give for the presence of gay/bi/trans characters. Chad's and Vincent's portrayers never received the cover of Out or the Advocate or appearances at the GLAAD Media awards to my knowledge.

Vincent, in particular, was a psychopath who represented many of the worst stereotypes about mulattos, black men, and gays, and intersexed individuals. He raped, blackmailed, and murdered. Vincent was the poster child for the "depraved homosexual" trope.

I'm all for minorities playing villains like RJ Gannon but stereotypical monsters like Vincent are disquieting. On the one hand, Passions had many monstrous white villains. So, why not have a black/biracial one? The character of Liz fits nicely into the typical Passions mode of villain. On the other, Vincent just seemed like a walking check list of wrongness.

In contrast, I didn't mention the characters Simone and Rae. They were positive characters.

Note: I don't recall there being any effort by the media to interview the actors who played Chad and Vincent to the same degree that they have pursued Michael Muhney or Yanni Gelman. Given that Muhney took over the role of Adam after the character had caused his stepmothers miscarriage during a gaslighting attack, the characters psychopathy was well established.

Does any one recall Vincent's portrayer Phillip Jeanmarie being interviewed for any major gay mags or blogs? I did a Google search and found none. That does seem unfair.

AlistairCrane's picture
Member since:
4 May 2008
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2 years 36 weeks

Vincent wasn't gay. She was trans. Hello, Daphnee Duplaix!!