After GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, released their annual “Where We Are on TV report for 2020, showrunner and producer Shonda Rhimes has said that she’s “not okay” with being the only straight person who made GLAAD’s cut. The Hollywood mogul who has brought us Bridgerton, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and How To Get Away With Murder, is one of four other “out power players” GLAAD says helped make 2020 have more representation for LGBTQ people on our TV screens.
According to GLAAD, an LGBTQ-focused media monitoring organization, Ryan Murphy, Lena Waithe, Greg Berlanti, and Rhimes were responsible for “17 percent of all LGBTQ representation on TV” last year. With their combined 16 various TV series, the report also attributed 62 out of 360 overall characters who were LGBTQ who showed up on screen last year as characters contributed by the foursome. The report emphasized that this means “nearly one in every five LGBTQ characters that appeared on a series” was because of them.
In tweets surrounding the news, Rhimes shared that she was bothered by the fact that she was the only “straight” person to be a part of the group’s achievement. As she sees it, the problem of people not prioritizing the representation of marginalized groups they don’t identify with always seems to be the problem surrounding diversity in Hollywood and onscreen. According to her, the lack of LGBTQ representation likens that of failed racial representation.
“You know what bugs me?” she asked. “I’m the only straight person on this list. That is not okay. It’s like the same problem with ANY kind of diversity. White people don’t do their job when it comes to representing people of color.”
In the following tweet she continued, “Straight people don’t do their job when it comes to representing queer people. WHY? (and PS: I’m not suggesting I’m special — most of this work was done by @KristaVernoff!)”
GLAAD noted that the goal of their “Where We Are on TV” report is to use the data they collect “throughout the year as a resource and partner to creatives, executives, and other leaders in the TV industry to ensure more fair, accurate, and inclusive LGBTQ representations that will continue to accelerate acceptance worldwide.” With that in mind, even though only four creatives held a big portion of the imprint LGBTQ people left in TV last year, hopefully as the report continues to be released, more attention and action will be geared towards addressing the issue.
Rhimes seems to be over the general lack of enthusiasm or effort when it comes to her colleagues in Hollywood who aren’t prioritizing all forms of diversity onscreen. While we all wait for more of Hollywood’s movers and shakers to give us the content that reflects us all, at least we know we can always count on Rhimes to keep us entertained the right way.