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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."

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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.