LGBTQ characters have been depicted in pop culture since 1934 (http://goo.gl/dwPTJ), for better or worse - as villains, law breakers, predators, non-monogamous sex addicts, campy stereotypes, positive role models, successful professionals, stable couples, loving parents, and responsible citizens. Essentially, the mirror of heterosexuals in terms of being human, yet in some instances, reinforcing of negative stereotypes.
In the past two decades, if one thinks hard enough, one will remember several supporting LGBTQ characters in major network sitcoms and dramatic series. Both ER and Gray's Anatomy have had lesbian characters and couples as cast members. Roseanne included male and female gay characters, interwoven as positive members of small-town, middle America. Will & Grace emphasized a strong gay male lead character who longed for a committed, loving relationship while his professionally unsuccessful, financially irresponsible friend had numerous one-night stands and the occasional short-lived relationship. Although Will & Grace brought the "normalcy" of being gay into viewers' homes, the show failed to represent lesbians in similar fashion. The rare, supporting lesbian character always resembled well-known stereotypes. Besides lack of positive lesbian representation, Will & Grace neglected countless opportunities to display responsible characters of color from the LGBTQ community. The one and only Black gay male turned out to be an insensitive jerk instead of a well-matched partner for Will.
Major network television has made attempts to include more LGBTQ characters, such as in Desperate Housewives, Glee, Modern Family, The New Normal, and Partners. This effort is truly appreciated.
Although inclusion is appreciated, one significant element has been missing. With the exception of Ellen DeGeneres who came out on her show back in the mid-1990's, the majority of lead gay characters have been white, middle to upper-class, very attractive young men. Of course these lead gay characters have been positive role models for unknown numbers of teenage and young adult gay males. So, once again, this is truly appreciated.
Unfortunately, the rest of the multicultural LGBTQ community have not had their moment in the spotlight as prime time, main TV characters on major network stations (excluding premium channels such as Showtime, HBO, LOGO, etc.).
Quote: "According to [GLAAD’s sixth annual Network Responsibility Index], 69% of LGBT impressions on broadcast networks were made by gay men and 66% were made by white people. While transgender people are barely represented on broadcast networks — only a .01% impression — they are virtually nonexistent on cable with a measly .005%" (August 30, 2012 - Full story here: http://www.queerty.com/glaad-report-finds-diversity-lacking-in-lgbt-representations-on-tv-20120830/#ixzz27Sf0KGWF).
Each new television season presents an opportunity to include characters representing "every day Americans." By signing this petition, "every day Americans" are asking major TV networks to produce sitcoms and dramatic series with positive, non-stereotypical multicultural LGBTQ individuals and couples as main characters.