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


Two annual content analyses of development through the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 tv seasons had been carried out to evaluate the clear presence of actions and spoken communications pertaining to the sexuality of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Intimate content connected with nonheterosexuals ended up being found 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 contained nonheterosexual content. Programs on commercial broadcast sites had been less inclined to have nonheterosexual content than those on cable sites, particularly those on premium cable film companies. Implications for the continued shortage of attention to intimate minorities are talked about both for heterosexual and nonheterosexual audiences.


Intimate content of development on US tv changed considerably because the medium was initially designed a lot more than 50 years back. At its inception, tv rarely presented intimate themes, and through the very very very early years of tv, subjects such as for instance maternity, contraception, as well as other areas of figures’ sex had been considered too responsive to be portrayed or talked about in tv shows. One theme that’s been particularly 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 throughout the last a few years, tv development happens to be called heterosexual” that is“compulsoryWolf & Kielwasser, 1991), and depictions associated with the sexual dilemmas related to nonheterosexuals 1 may stay reasonably unusual (Brown, 2002).

Minimal research that is quantitative been carried out to report homosexual problems and figures on tv. Presently, nearly all of just exactly what happens to be published about tv and its own portrayals of intimate minority themes and characters arises from qualitative writings. The objective of this paper is always to provide quantitative information on intimate behavior and intimate talk associated to nonheterosexuals over the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 tv periods. The findings with this research offer empirical data concerning the prevalence of nonheterosexual content that is sexual a broad number of television development, plus the regularity of these sexual content if it is presented.

Before 1970, very little gay figures might be entirely on tv, and their general lack through the display proceeded before the 1990s (Wyatt, 2002). In the past few years, how many shows with leading or recurring homosexual figures has diverse from 16 when you look at the 1997-1998 period to 29 into the 2000-2001 period (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, n.d.). Although these figures represent a rise weighed against yesteryear, they’ve been still quite tiny weighed against the number that is overall of appearing on tv programs broadcast each period.

Based on social cognitive concept (Bandura, 2001), one crucial method by which tv influences people is through supplying vicarious experiences on which to model philosophy, attitudes, and behavior whenever real-life experiences are far more restricted. A closely associated concept is the fact that the news by depicting intimate situations that individuals may not be in a position to see anywhere else offer scripts for enacting different intimate habits (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) such as for example individuals making love with a brand new partner. 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 sexual identities and be thinking about intimate relationships (Chapin, 2000). In fact, up to one out of five teens 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 perhaps maybe not supplying good role models for adolescents for instance, abstinence among teenagers is seldom portrayed in an optimistic 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 mature in a community that is straight few homosexual role models; hence, they have been specially at risk of the portrayals of homosexual people into the media (Fejes & Petrich, 1993; Ryan & Futterman, 1998). Yet, intimate minorities in many cases are ignored because of the main-stream media and free live cams xxx addressed as though they don’t occur. This exclusion happens to be posited to subscribe to maintaining minorities that are sexual and without energy, an activity which Gross means as “symbolic annihilation” (Gross, 1991; Gerbner & Gross, 1976). Portrayals of homosexual individuals of all ages have now been unusual and frequently negative (Gross, 1991, 1996; Moritz, 1994), and portrayals of young nonheterosexuals are even less common (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). Programs for adolescent audiences often portray an exclusively heterosexual environment, with just occasional brief appearances by adolescent figures who will be confused about their sex (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). This is really important because homosexual adolescents frequently cannot get information strongly related their intimate orientation from buddies and family members and might make use of tv as being a supply of data about gay dilemmas (Paroski, 1987). The little amount of gay characters 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).

Even though gay figures are portrayed on television, they are generally shown within an asexual context (Fejes & Petrich, 1993). Gross (1991) cites samples of homosexual figures who have been hardly ever, when, shown in intimate or romantic contexts such as Sidney in prefer Sidney, Steven Carrington in Dynasty, and Marilyn McGrath in Heartbeat. More modern these include Matt Fielding in Melrose Put, whoever orientation that is sexual prominently showcased in promotions prior to the show’s premiere, then seldom contained in storylines for the very very first a few periods (Wyatt, 2002). Until really recently, the 2 freely homosexual figures on NBC’s presently popular series that is prime-time and Grace Will and Jack had been rarely shown being actually affectionate along with other guys; nevertheless, the lead female character Grace, that is heterosexual, has frequently been proven in intimate circumstances with males. Will and Grace also offers been criticized for reinforcing heterosexual norms and stereotypes about homosexual characteristics such as for instance 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 usually contrasted with all the more flamboyant Jack, that is made enjoyable of if you are campy and “queeny.”