Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Information on tv: A Quantitative Analysis Across Two Seasons

by Lisa Brenner
January 4, 2021

Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Information on tv: A Quantitative Analysis Across Two Seasons

Two content that is annual of development through the 2001 2002 and 2002 2003 tv periods (letter = 1,276 and 1,439 programs, correspondingly) were carried out to evaluate the clear presence of behaviors and spoken messages linked to the sex of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Intimate content related to nonheterosexuals was present in about 15% of programs general; nevertheless, prices of event within episodes had been low. Of 14 genres, just films and variety/comedy shows had significant percentages of programs that included nonheterosexual content. Programs on commercial broadcast companies had been less likely to want to have content that is nonheterosexual those on cable companies, particularly those on premium cable film systems. Implications associated with continued shortage of attention to intimate minorities are talked about for both heterosexual and nonheterosexual audiences.


Intimate content of development on US tv changed considerably because the medium was initially devised significantly more than 50 years back. At its inception, tv hardly ever presented themes that are sexual and for the very early years of television, topics such as for instance maternity, contraception, as well as other components of figures’ sexuality had been considered too responsive to be portrayed or talked about in shows. One theme that is specially ignored may be the depiction of intimate dilemmas linked to homosexual, lesbian, and individuals that are bisexual. Inspite of the lifting of some longstanding taboos during the last a few years, tv development happens to be called heterosexual” that is“compulsoryWolf & Kielwasser, 1991), and depictions associated with the intimate problems related to nonheterosexuals 1 may stay fairly uncommon (Brown, 2002).

Little research that is quantitative been carried out to report homosexual problems and figures on tv. Presently, the majority of just exactly what happens to be posted about tv as well as its portrayals of intimate minority themes and characters originates from qualitative writings. The objective of this paper would be to provide quantitative information on sexual behavior and intimate talk associated to nonheterosexuals throughout the 2001 2002 and 2002 2003 tv periods. The findings with this research offer empirical data in regards to the prevalence of nonheterosexual intimate content across a broad array of tv development, plus the regularity of these intimate content if it is presented.

Before 1970, very little homosexual figures could possibly be entirely on tv, and their absence that is relative from display continued before the 1990s (Wyatt, 2002). The number of shows with leading or recurring gay characters has varied from 16 in the 1997 1998 season to 29 in the 2000 2001 season (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, n.d.) in recent years. Although these figures represent a growth in contrast to days gone by, they truly are nevertheless quite little in contrast to the number that is overall of appearing on tv programs broadcast each period.

In accordance with cognitive that is social (Bandura, 2001), one crucial manner in which tv influences watchers is through supplying vicarious experiences on which to model thinking, attitudes, and behavior whenever real world experiences are far more restricted. A closely associated concept is the fact that the news by depicting intimate situations that individuals is probably not in a position to see any place else offer scripts for enacting different intimate habits (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) such as for example individuals making love with a partner that is new. Reliance on television shows for intimate scripts and television characters as models for behavior are especially strong among youth, whom might not have much hand that is first with sex, yet are beginning to solidify their intimate identities and be thinking about intimate relationships (Chapin, 2000). In fact, as much as one out of five teenagers reports that “entertainment” is the many crucial way to obtain intimate information (Gibbs, 1993 as cited in Brown & Steele, 1995).

Although tv was criticized for maybe perhaps maybe not supplying good part models for adolescents as an example, abstinence among teenagers is seldom portrayed in a confident light (Committee on Communications, 1995) having less good part models on tv is more extreme for homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).

Many lesbians and homosexual males develop in a community that is straight few homosexual part models; hence, these are typically specially at risk of the portrayals of homosexual individuals when you look at the media (Fejes & Petrich, 1993; Ryan & Futterman, 1998). Yet, intimate minorities in many cases are ignored by the conventional media and addressed as though they don’t occur. This exclusion happens to be posited to subscribe to maintaining intimate minorities hidden and without energy, an ongoing process which Gross relates to as “symbolic annihilation” (Gross, 1991; Gerbner & Gross, 1976). Portrayals of gay folks of all ages have now been uncommon and sometimes negative (Gross, 1991, 1996; Moritz, 1994), and portrayals of young nonheterosexuals are also less frequent (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). Programs for adolescent audiences often portray an exclusively heterosexual environment, with just occasional brief appearances by adolescent figures that are confused about their sex (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). This is really important because gay adolescents frequently cannot get information strongly related their intimate orientation from buddies and household and will make use of tv being a source of data about homosexual dilemmas (Paroski, 1987). The number that is small of figures on tv, and also smaller number of adolescent homosexual figures, is proposed to play a role in a sense of isolation among nonheterosexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).

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