1997 Television lineup includes record number of "out" characters

NEW YORK --The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) recently announced that the 1997 fall television lineup will include a record setting 30 lesbian, gay and bisexual characters. This 23% increase compared to the historic 1996 fall lineup is the result of three characters introduced during the 1996/1997 year and four new characters this fall.

This year television welcomes four new primetime lesbian, gay and bisexual characters. Bill Broctrup, who also played gay characters on Steven Bochco's NYPD Blue and Public Morals, will portray a receptionist on ABC's Total Security. On NBC, Veronica's Closet, staring Kirstie Allie, will introduce Joshua, played by Wallace Langham. While closeted during the season opener, sources tell GLAAD he will soon bust out. Head Over Heels, on UPN, will feature recurring Ellen actor Patrick Bristow as Ian, a celibate bisexual. And on FOX's 413 Hope Street, Karime Prince will portray Melvin, a flamboyantly fierce HIV-positive black gay youth.

"Television has been at the forefront of reflecting the lives of the community over the years," said Chastity Bono, GLAAD Entertainment Media Director. "This increase is simply a reflection of a growing trend of inclusive programming. This historic number of characters signals America's increasing appreciation of the lesbian, gay and bisexual community as part of their own lives."

413 Hope Street's Melvin is only the second gay character of color currently on primetime TV. He will share that distinction with Michael Boatman's Carter of the GLAAD Media Award-winning Spin City. "GLAAD is particularly pleased to see the introduction of Melvin, a black HIV-positive youth, to the fall line-up," said Joan M. Garry, GLAAD's Executive Director. "We hope that future programming looks at the true diversity within the lesbian, gay and bisexual community."

Throughout the 1997/1998 year, GLAAD will continue to monitor how television represents the lives and lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people. Our award winning Web site (www.glaad.org) will feature an up-to-date scoreboard of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters on television. GLAAD will also continue to work behind the scenes of the television industry to encourage portrayals that are inclusive and diverse.

GLAAD is a national organization that promotes fair, accurate and inclusive representation of individuals and events in the media as a means of combating homophobia and all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

©1997 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.