Dec 16, 2016

Working Together to Create a Home for LGBT Storytelling

Since GLAAD began tracking the inclusion of LGBT characters on television 21 years ago, much has changed. In 1995 there were only a handful of LGBTQ characters on television, and today, according to GLAAD’s annual Where We Are on TV report tracking LGBT inclusion in primetime scripted series there are 43 regular characters on broadcast, 92 on cable and 45 on streaming original series. Similar studies in representation in film have shown growth in the industry but not necessarily keeping pace with consumer demand.

Part of my role at Comcast has been to work with the programmers, content creators and LGBTQ community, including our own customers and employees, to create a destination on our Xfinity TV platforms that reflects this new surge in content.

The Xfinity LGBT Film & TV Collection is a community-driven library of over 800+ titles featuring LGBT characters and storylines, with new content incorporated weekly. We are proud the collection provides a home for some of the community’s most important and unique stories. Our customers can easily access the Xfinity LGBT Film & TV Collection both On Demand and at www.Xfinity.com/LGBT. X1 users can also search and discover the entire catalog by simply speaking "LGBT" into the X1 voice remote.

Working with our customers on the Xfinity LGBT Film & TV Collection has reinforced for me, now more than ever, the importance of LGBTQ storytelling. In partnership with and driven by the LGBT community, we have been on a journey together. The input we received has helped shape the remarkable experience we have today and the results are evident in the rich and diverse range of stories available. I am delighted to share what we have learned from our LGBT and allied customers and why this work is meaningful to me.

Our customers told us that it is important to see stories representing the rich diversity of experiences throughout the community, inclusive of different ages, races and genders. They want to see LGBT characters with fully developed backstories, including life and love interests. Our customers have also expressed a desire for more entertaining stories about every day LGBT heroes and stories of community empowerment.

The Xfinity LGBT Film & TV Collection includes Love Stories, Coming Out Stories, Inspirational Stories, Documentaries, International and Award Winners and while not strictly LGBTQ, we also have the always-enjoyable Cult Classics. There is much more to enjoy, for example, the Strong Women collection was added at the request of our customers and has rapidly become one of our top performing categories.

Growing up with friends and family who lived the majority of their lives in the closet afraid to come out, telling these stories means a tremendous amount to me personally. For years, I witnessed those closest to me unable to work and live in the world in their true, authentic selves, much less turn on the television or go to the movies and find positive representations of LGBT people on the screen. The availability of diverse stories with LGBT representation has fostered deeper understanding within my own family of the experiences and events that have shaped our lives.

Telling the full breadth of these stories is why the Xfinity LGBT Film & TV Collection features films with key storylines, characters and plots informed directly from the community itself. We’ve premiered shows like I’m From Driftwood’s docu-series What Was It Like? which presents first-person accounts from LGBT older adults to help tell the stories of a generation that was told to keep their lives in the closet more than any generation since. We partnered with Frameline Distribution to showcase documentaries exploring the identities of trans and gender expansive youth. We brought Equality Forum feature films to the collection and partnered with Here TV to feature a free LGBT movie each week.

I feel both fortunate and grateful that my work gives me the opportunity to share diverse stories with our customers. I believe those stories are important to tell. And in doing so, all of our lives become richer.

***Visit the LGBT Film & TV Collection on Xfinity On Demand by saying "LGBT" in the X1 Voice Remote. On X1: Navigate to "Popular Destinations": LGBT Film & TV. On Native: Go to "On Demand": LGBT Film & TV. The Collection can also be found online at: Xfinity.com/LGBT #XfinityLGBT***

Connect with me on Twitter @Jclairefitschen

Tags : LGBT, TV, X1

 
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