#10YearChallenge: 2009 vs. 2019 LGBTQ TV

Did you know that in 2009 there were four LGBT characters of color on broadcast TV and zero of them were black? And that in 2019, for the first time, LGBT characters of color outnumbered white characters on broadcast TV? (Plus 95 LGBT characters of color on cable and 54 on streaming)? That’s just one of the jarring and triumphant stats I stumbled across when putting together a little collection of #10YearChallenge memes for queer TV. Some of these will probably make you giggle and some of them will probably make you go “ooof!” but I hope all of them give you a nice little boost of hope.

We really have come a very long way since Glee premiered and The L Word ended a decade ago, and we’re not done yet!

Note: Some of these are approximate dates; for example, Pretty Little Liars filmed its pilot in 2009, but didn’t premiere it until 2010. Let’s just have some fun, okay? OKAY!


2009 vs. 2019: Queer Kissing

The Good Wife / Jane the Virgin

2009 vs. 2019: Sara Ramirez

Grey’s Anatomy / Madam Secretary

2009 vs. 2019: Total LGBT Characters on TV

2009 vs. 2019: Lovable Bisexual Sociopaths

Warehouse 13 / Killing Eve

2009 vs. 2019: Queer Sex

Glee / Vida

2009 vs. 2019: Queer Characters on All-Ages TV

Shutterstock / She-Ra

2009 vs. 2019: Lesbian Getting Stalked/Lesbian Doing Stalking

Pretty Little Liars / Hashtag You on Lifetime (Do not watch this show)

2009 vs. 2019: Trans Representation

The L Word / Pose

2009 vs. 2019: Charmed

Ao3 / Charmed

2009 vs. 2019: Queer Superheroes

Variety / Top, L to R: Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, Legends of Tomorrow. Middle, L to R: Marvel’s Runaways, Supergirl, Marvel’s Runaways. Bottom, L to R: Black Lightning, Supergirl, CW DC TV “Elseworlds” Crossover

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 772 articles for us.

42 Comments

  1. Heather as an academic I’m disappointed you didn’t properly source all your pictures.

    Now I have no idea where the 2019 “queer sex” ref comes from.

    We need the references Heather! For research!!!

  2. I feel like this list could’ve gone on for a while. I snorted throughout most of it.
    I’ve just read that Michelle Yeoh is getting her own Star Trek Spin Off this year. Any chance of including this,too?
    Or maybe for the twenty year challenge on bisexual space babes. I have absolute faith in you on this matter.
    Also, I feel kind of old now, but in a good way.

  3. 2009: gawky junior high me thinks grey’s anatomy is the best show ever and i don’t know WHY callie is my favorite but she IS mom so let it GO

    2019: my mom, sibling, and i have a group text where we dissect sara ramirez’s outfits and the sibling and i call dibs on various accessories

  4. THIS IS PERFECT

    thank you for saying (Do Not Watch This Show) for hashtag you on lifetime because you knew immediately after i saw shay in that outfit i was about to, but you saved me yet again, thank you for your service heather

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