Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Information on tv: a Analysis that is quantitative across Seasons

Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Information on tv: a Analysis that is quantitative across Seasons


Two content that is annual of development through the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 tv periods had been carried out to evaluate the current presence of habits and spoken communications pertaining 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 content that is nonheterosexual. Programs on commercial broadcast systems had been less inclined to have content that is nonheterosexual those on cable systems, specially those on premium cable film systems. Implications associated with the continued lack of attention to intimate minorities are talked about both for heterosexual and nonheterosexual audiences.


Intimate content of development on US tv changed significantly because the medium was initially created significantly more than 50 years back. At its inception, tv seldom presented themes that are sexual and for the early years of tv, subjects such as for instance maternity, contraception, as well as other components of characters’ sex had been considered too responsive to be portrayed or talked about in tv shows. One theme that is specially ignored could be the depiction of intimate problems pertaining to homosexual, lesbian, and individuals that are bisexual. Inspite of the lifting of some longstanding taboos over the past a few years, television programming 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).

Minimal research that is quantitative been conducted to document homosexual dilemmas and figures on tv. Presently, the majority of exactly what is posted about tv as well as its portrayals of intimate minority themes and figures arises from qualitative writings. The objective of this paper is always to provide quantitative information on sexual behavior and intimate talk associated to nonheterosexuals throughout the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 tv periods. The findings using this research offer empirical data in regards to the prevalence of nonheterosexual content that is sexual a broad variety of tv development, plus the frequency of such intimate content if it is presented.

Before 1970, very little homosexual figures might be entirely on tv, and their general lack through the display screen proceeded 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 rise in contrast to days gone by, these are typically nevertheless quite little in contrast to the general wide range of figures showing up on tv programs broadcast each period.

Relating to cognitive that is social (Bandura, 2001), one essential manner in which tv influences audiences is through supplying vicarious experiences on which to model philosophy, attitudes, and behavior whenever real-life experiences tend to be more restricted. A closely associated concept is the fact that the news by depicting sexual situations that folks may possibly not be in a position to see somewhere else offer scripts for enacting different intimate actions (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) such as for instance individuals sex with a partner that is new. Reliance on tv programs for intimate scripts and tv figures as models for behavior can be specially strong among youth, whom might not have much experience that is first-hand sex, yet are beginning to solidify their intimate identities and be thinking about intimate relationships (Chapin, 2000). In fact, up to one in five teenagers reports that “entertainment” is the many source that is important of information (Gibbs, 1993 as cited in Brown & Steele, 1995).

Although tv happens to be criticized for maybe not supplying good part models for adolescents as an example, abstinence among teenagers is hardly ever portrayed in a confident light (Committee on Communications, 1995) having less positive part models on television is much more extreme for homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). Many lesbians and homosexual males develop in a right community with few homosexual part models; hence, they truly are particularly at risk of the portrayals of homosexual people in the media (Fejes & Petrich, 1993; Ryan & Futterman, 1998). Yet, intimate minorities tend to be ignored by the main-stream media and addressed as though they cannot occur. This exclusion happens to be posited to play a role in keeping intimate minorities hidden and without power, a procedure which Gross identifies as “symbolic annihilation” (Gross, 1991; Gerbner & Gross, 1976). Portrayals of homosexual folks of all ages have already been rare and sometimes negative (Gross, 1991, 1996; Moritz, 1994), and portrayals of young nonheterosexuals are also less frequent (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). Shows for adolescent audiences often portray an exclusively heterosexual environment, with just occasional brief appearances by adolescent figures who’re confused about their sex (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). This is important because gay adolescents usually cannot get information highly relevant to their intimate orientation from buddies and family free cam chat members and may also use tv as a source of data about homosexual problems (Paroski, 1987). The number that is small of characters on tv, as well as smaller number of adolescent homosexual figures, is proposed to play a role in a sense of isolation among nonheterosexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).

Even though homosexual figures are portrayed on tv, they are usually shown in a asexual context (Fejes & Petrich, 1993). Gross (1991) cites samples of homosexual figures who have been seldom, when, shown in intimate or contexts that are romantic as Sidney in enjoy Sidney, Steven Carrington in Dynasty, and Marilyn McGrath in Heartbeat. More modern for example Matt Fielding in Melrose Put, whoever orientation that is sexual prominently showcased in promotions prior to the show’s premiere, after which seldom a part of storylines when it comes to very very first a few periods (Wyatt, 2002). Until really recently, the 2 freely homosexual figures on NBC’s presently popular prime-time series Will and Grace Will and Jack had been hardly ever shown being actually affectionate along with other males; nevertheless, the lead female character Grace, that is heterosexual, has usually demonstrated an ability in sexual circumstances with males. Will and Grace even offers been criticized for reinforcing heterosexual norms and stereotypes about homosexual faculties such as for example homosexual guys being feminine, flamboyant, and promiscuous (Battles & Morrow-Hilton, 2002). Battles and Morrow-Hilton argue that the safer, more assimilated asexual character of Will is frequently contrasted utilizing the more flamboyant Jack, that is made enjoyable of to be campy and “queeny.”


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