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

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 seasons (letter = 1,276 and 1,439 programs, correspondingly) had been carried out to evaluate the clear presence of habits and spoken communications associated with the sex of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Intimate content connected with nonheterosexuals ended up being present in about 15% of programs general; nevertheless, prices of incident 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 sites had been less inclined to have nonheterosexual content than those on cable companies, specially those on premium cable film sites. Implications regarding the continued absence of attention to intimate minorities are talked about both for heterosexual and nonheterosexual viewers.


Intimate content of development on US tv changed significantly because the medium was initially created a lot more than 50 years back. At its inception, tv seldom presented themes that are sexual and for the very early years of tv, topics such as for example maternity, contraception, along with other components of figures’ sexuality had been considered too responsive to be portrayed or talked about in tv shows. One theme that is particularly ignored may be the depiction of intimate problems pertaining to homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual people. 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 regarding the intimate problems connected with nonheterosexuals 1 may remain fairly unusual (Brown, 2002).

Minimal research that is quantitative been carried out to report homosexual dilemmas and figures on tv. Currently, nearly all of just just just what happens to be posted about television as well as its portrayals of intimate minority themes and figures arises from qualitative writings. The goal of this paper would be to provide quantitative information on sexual behavior and intimate talk related to nonheterosexuals throughout the 2001 2002 and 2002 2003 tv periods. The findings out of this research offer empirical data in regards to the prevalence of nonheterosexual intimate content across a broad variety of tv programming, plus the frequency of these intimate content when it’s presented.

Before 1970, very little homosexual figures might be available on tv, and their general lack through the display proceeded before the 1990s (Wyatt, 2002). In the last few years, how many programs with leading or recurring homosexual figures has diverse from 16 within the 1997 1998 period to 29 into the 2000 2001 period (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, n.d.). Although these numbers represent a rise weighed against the last, they have been nevertheless quite little weighed against the general quantity of figures showing up on tv programs broadcast each period.

Based on social cognitive concept (Bandura, 2001), one crucial method by which tv influences audiences is through supplying vicarious experiences on which to model thinking, attitudes, and behavior whenever true to life experiences are far more restricted. A closely associated concept is the fact that news by depicting intimate situations that folks is probably not in a position to see somewhere else offer scripts for enacting different intimate actions (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) such as for instance people making love having a partner that is new. Reliance on television programs for intimate scripts and tv figures as models for behavior can be specially strong among youth, whom might not have much very first hand experience with sexuality, yet are beginning to solidify their intimate identities and be enthusiastic about intimate relationships (Chapin, 2000). In fact, as much as one out of 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 perhaps perhaps not supplying role that is good for adolescents for instance, abstinence among teenagers is hardly ever portrayed in a confident light (Committee on Communications, 1995) having less good part models on tv is much more extreme for homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).

Many lesbians and homosexual guys mature in a right community with few gay role models; therefore, they’ve been specially at risk of the portrayals of homosexual individuals into the media (Fejes & Petrich, 1993; Ryan & Futterman, 1998). Yet, intimate minorities in many cases are ignored by the conventional media and treated as if they cannot occur. This exclusion happens to be posited to play a role in maintaining intimate minorities hidden and without energy, a procedure which Gross relates to as “symbolic annihilation” (Gross, 1991; Gerbner & Gross, 1976). Portrayals of homosexual individuals of all ages have already been uncommon and sometimes negative (Gross, 1991, 1996; Moritz, 1994), and portrayals of young nonheterosexuals are also 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 a supply of data about homosexual problems (Paroski, 1987). The tiny amount of homosexual figures on television, as well as smaller number of adolescent homosexual figures, is proposed to donate to a sense of isolation among nonheterosexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).