A Third Of LGBT Characters Were Killed Off Spanish-Language TV Shows In 2017

A new GLAAD report rates representation on Telemundo, Univision, and UniMas.

A new report from GLAAD reveals that LGBT representations on Spanish-language television is lagging.

The second annual report "Still Invisible/Todavia Invisibles" examined primetime programming from Telemundo, Univision, UniMas, and Netflix in the 2016-2017 television season. Analysts counted just 19 LGBT characters out a total of 698, including 13 gay men, five lesbians/bisexual women, and one trans woman.

La Piloto/Univision

That's a marginal increase of about 3% from last year. But a deeper look sees that six of those 19 were killed off, echoing the "Bury Your Gays" trend in Hollywood queer fans have been complaining about.

GLAAD also criticized how LGBT series regulars are often comic relief or plot contrivances who are "solely in service of furthering the other characters."

Only three shows—El señor de Los cielos, El Capo, and La querida del centauro—featured queer characters in romantic relationships. Óscar Lucio remained in the closet on the Univision drama La piloto, while on La doble vida de Estela Carrillo, Tadeo Jimenez's stepfather beat him up after finding him with another man.

“Writers seemed to face challenges when creating LGBTQ characters that audiences could relate to and root for,” the report stated, “especially since more and more of the stories occurred in the world of drug trafficking: four of the LGBTQ characters were villains who worked for criminal organizations.”

Despite increased opportunity and acceptance, GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis lamented that "producers have failed to pay attention to their audiences and expand the inclusive representation that Latinx audiences seek in both English and Spanish."

Last month, GLAAD's "Where We Are On TV" report found 58 LGBT characters out of 901 total, a record for broadcast, cable networks, and streaming services.

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