Shining a Light: The Importance of HIV-Positive Representation on TV!

Multiple Characters from FX's Pose
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Hey there, fabulous creatures! We’re gonna spill the tea on all things LGBTQ and TV! Your sass-tastic drag queen expert is here to snatch your wigs and serve you the hottest T from GLAAD’s annual Where We Are on TV Report for 2022-2023, honey! So buckle up, buttercup, because we’re about to dive deep into the queer pool of representation like never before in this nine-part series. We’ll be dissecting every inch of this rainbow-colored report, which hungrily analyzes the number of LGBTQ characters on primetime scripted series across broadcast networks, cable networks, and streaming services

Hey, honey! Welcome back to another fabulous blog post, where we spill the tea on the latest LGBTQ+ TV happenings. Today, we’re putting our fiercest foot forward and talking about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart: representation of characters living with HIV & AIDS. Let’s dive in, shall we?

First off, let’s talk numbers, darling. According to the 2022 State of HIV Stigma study by GLAAD and Gilead Sciences, only 31% of adults say they’ve seen media featuring HIV-positive characters. And let me tell you, that’s just not good enough, sweetie! We need to do better, especially when 87% of adults admit there’s still a stigma surrounding HIV. Media is a powerful tool for change, and we need to see characters living full lives with HIV to help end the stigma.

Now, let me give you the good news: last year, there were only two HIV-positive characters on TV. This year, that number has jumped up to eight. Yasss, queen! We’re making progress! But hold onto your wigs, because there’s a catch: none of these characters will return in the next edition of this report. Talk about a letdown, am I right?

Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane and remember some of these groundbreaking characters. FX’s American Horror Story: NYC featured six HIV-positive characters, shining a light on the 1980s crisis and the media’s refusal to take it seriously. Netflix’s The Midnight Club brought us Spencer, a teen with HIV who faced rejection from his family for being gay. And Peacock’s Queer as Folk reboot gave us Mingus, a nonbinary pansexual character who received an HIV diagnosis and showed us the power of a mother’s love. These were all beautiful stories, but we need more, honey!

Past series like FX’s Pose and ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder gave us HIV-positive characters we could love and root for over multiple seasons. But if these new shows keep getting the axe, we’re not going to make the progress we need to erase the stigma surrounding HIV.

And let’s not forget about the importance of showcasing the modern-day experience of living with HIV, sweetie. We need to see more characters navigating their relationships, getting educated on PrEP, treatment, and sexual health. We need to see the progress that’s been made since the ’80s and ’90s, and we need to see it on our screens, honey!

Now, I’m going to leave you with some wise words from DaShawn Usher, Director of Communities of Color and Media at GLAAD: “Entertainment can continue to be a source of widespread education, learning, and understanding.” So, let’s get to work and demand more representation of HIV-positive characters on TV!

Thank you for joining me on this fabulous journey, my darlings. Be sure to tune in next time for more fabulousness and fierce advocacy. Remember, we’re all in this together, and we need to keep fighting for the representation we deserve. Until next time, stay fabulous! *snaps fingers*

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