Media Trail – Nov. 15, 2019

LGBTQ characters on U.S. TV are at an all-time high

NBC News reported for the fourth consecutive year, broadcast television has featured a record percentage of LGBTQ characters, according to a report released Thursday by the media advocacy group GLAAD.

Last year, GLAAD called on the broadcast networks to have 10 percent of its regular characters on prime-time scripted series identify as LGBTQ by 2020. According to its 2019-20 “Where We Are on TV” report, the networks more than exceeded that goal.

Of the 879 regular characters scheduled to appear this season, 90, or 10.2 percent, are LGBTQ. This is the highest percentage GLAAD has found in the 15 years it has kept such a count.

“We made a specific call, and to see the networks surpass it is really noteworthy,” Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s director of entertainment research and analysis, said. “It’s especially exciting to see the number of trans men on TV more than double this year, which last year’s report really pushed television networks to do, and to see that for the first time, LGBTQ women outnumber LGBTQ men on broadcast.”

Among the other significant findings are a marked increase in the racial diversity of LGBTQ characters on broadcast. For the second year in a row, LGBTQ people of color outnumber white LGBTQ characters, with 52 percent of queer regular characters being of color on broadcast series. There are also nine characters with HIV/AIDS on broadcast television, an increase from the seven characters counted last year.

Though considerable progress has been made, Townsend said there were still steps networks needed to take to ensure more equitable LGBTQ representation, which is why GLAAD’s Media Institute works with networks and shows to consult on storylines, find queer talent, train writers’ rooms to talk about LGBTQ issues and promote projects.

Transgender candidate elected to City Council in Rochester

The Concord Monitor reported an ACLU representative made history as the first openly transgender person to be elected to a city council in New Hampshire.

Palana Belken, 30, was elected Nov. 5 in Rochester. She defeated longtime incumbent city councilor and Democratic state rep. Sandra Keans. The vote was 342-300. She was one of three LGBTQ residents elected to the 12-seat City Council.

Belken, the trans justice organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, said she heard a lot of ideas and received a lot of valuable insight from residents over the past several weeks on such issues like the downtown’s revitalization, substance use disorder, and housing affordability as she campaigned.

She said most people “just saw me as a young person looking to get elected.”

Man convicted of a hate crime for tearing down LGBTQ flag

Television station KCCI reported a jury convicted a man of a hate crime and other counts for tearing down and burning an LGBTQ flag flying at a church in Ames.

Adolpho Martinez, 30, was found guilty Nov. 6 of a hate crime, third-degree harassment and being a habitual offender.

Martinez was arrested in June. He said in an interview that he tore down the flag that had been hanging from the United Church of Christ and burned it because he opposes homosexuality.

Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said Martinez faces 15 years in prison when sentenced. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Judge finds man threatened transgender health club patron

Seacoast Online reported the attorney general’s office said a man was found guilty of violating the New Hampshire Civil Rights Act by repeatedly threatening to kill a transgender woman at a health club based on his belief that she shouldn’t have used the women’s locker room.

A judge issued an injunction Nov. 1 against Marc Bernier prohibiting him from contacting or coming within 250 feet of the targeted person. He also is prohibited from entering the Planet Fitness club in Nashua. The injunction lasts for a year.

Bernier also has to pay a fine. 

Reporting via Associated Press