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As the presence of openly LGBTQ characters in TV shows becomes increasingly commonplace, researchers have endeavored to understand what effect this may have on queer communities. Prior interview and social media discourse studies suggest that the negative representation of LGBTQ characters, through the use of queerbaiting and stereotypic portrayals, decreases queer individuals’ ability to cope with discrimination and stigma, as well as increases their sense of hopelessness at the possibility of future happiness. To understand the prevalence of this issue, the current content analysis aims to analyze the quality of LGBTQ representation in a sample (n = 8) of TV shows under the LGBTQ category on Netflix. Using a modified version of the Vito-Russo Test as a measure, the narratives and treatment of 36 openly queer characters were examined for identifiability, stereotypic portrayal, and significance to the plot. Results support the hypothesis that the majority of LGBTQ shows in the sample did not pass the proposed standard of quality representation. The implication that this may constitute a new form of homophobia are discussed.



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The New Homophobia: Quality of LGBTQ Representation in Streaming TV