A major gay rights organization is pushing for 20 percent of all television characters to be LGBT by the year 2025.
According to a report called "Where We Are on TV", which was released Thursday from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the presence of characters who identify as LGBT in television programming is key to changing hearts and minds in culture. The report cites an online survey of 2,037 adults indicating that one-fifth of Americans ages 18-34 and that 12 percent of all adults identify as LGBT or other non-heterosexual, non-biological gender categories.
GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis notes in the report that “less than one-quarter of Americans have a close friend or family member who is transgender,” meaning that many Americans “learn about trans people from what they see in television, movies, and news.”
The online survey used in the GLAAD media report is more reflective of what many perceive about percentages of LGBT-identified persons rather than the actual figures from reputable polling organizations.
In June, Gallup published results of a survey in which respondents were asked to give their best guess as to how many Americans they think are gay or lesbian. The study found that a strong majority of Americans continue to overestimate the percentages by a significant margin.
On average, Americans believe that 23.6 percent of the population is gay or lesbian. Over one-third of respondents thought the percentage was greater than 25 percent; 19 percent estimated the figure as somewhere between 20 to 25 percent; 10 percent guessed between 15 to 20 percent.
Only 8 percent of respondents accurately guessed that the percentage of U.S. men and women who identify as gay or lesbian was below 5 percent.
A 2017 study from Gallup where a large random sample — comprised of over 340,000 U.S. adults — was interviewed by phone found that only 4.5 percent of the population self-identified as LGBT.
Gallup noted: “The percentage of millennials who identify as LGBT expanded from 7.3% to 8.1% from 2016 to 2017, and is up from 5.8% in 2012.”
Meanwhile, the featuring of LGBT-identified characters in movies and television programming geared toward young children continues to grow.
Earlier this year, children's programs "Arthur" and "My Little Pony" included same-sex weddings and couples.
A 2017 episode of "Star vs. the Forces of Evil" on the Disney Channel depicted gay couples kissing among others during a boy band concert. That same year, the Disney kids series "Andi Mack" featured a 13-year-old character who realizes he is gay and comes out to his friends.