A groundbreaking new report highlights the critical need for more LGBTQ2S+ representation in Canadian media, both on screen and behind the scenes.

Commissioned and compiled by additional‘s parent company Pink Triangle Press, the PTP pink paper takes a deep dive into representation in Canadian film, TV, streaming and video games. Based on survey data and interviews with industry professionals working in Canada, as well as responses from additionalAccording to the annual reader survey, the first report of its kind paints a picture of an industry that has made progress in representing queer and trans stories, but still has a long way to go.

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Specifically, 85 percent of industry workers surveyed said the representation of LGBTQ2S+ characters on screen has improved over the past five years. While more than 90 percent of industry professionals agree that real change will only happen if decision makers are more proactive about representation, including in hiring and promotion.

At the same time, 82 percent agree that it is more challenging for queer and trans professionals to advance into senior decision-making roles. The report points out several points about the lack of LGBTQ2S+ representation at the highest levels, such as top executives, producers and showrunners who greenlight projects. It draws connections between how that affects the way stories are told and who specifically sees talent development as a problem.

The PTP pink paper findings will be presented June 11 at the Banff World Media Festival. Of Canadian industry professionals surveyed, 93 percent agree that LGBTQ2S+ representation is important to them, and 90 percent believe representation increases understanding and promotes acceptance in society at large.

“We don’t want sanitized characters to replace stereotypes; we want complexity, outrageousness, delights and depth. We want to see the range of experiences reflect our lives,” said David Walberg, CEO of PTP. “We hope that this basic research will be used to serve this purpose. The film, television and video production industries, the video games industry and, most importantly, our society will benefit.”

Walberg is part of a panel unpacking the results of the Banff paper. Other panelists taking a critical look at the findings include actress, writer and producer Emily Hampshire; producer and co-founder of Gay Agenda, Michelle Mama; actress Cassandra James; and writer, actor and producer Alexander Nunez.
While American organizations – such as GLAAD and its annual Where we are on television report – have broadly examined queer and transgender representation in film and TV, the PTP pink paper marks the first comprehensive look at the entertainment industry in both the English and French markets in Canada.

Walberg specifically hopes that the PTP pink paper– which, along with surveys, drew conclusions from a content analysis of Canada’s most-watched programs – will help Canada become a global leader in representing queer and trans stories on screen across sectors.

“We believe Canada’s screen industries are uniquely positioned to be global leaders in a more authentic and dynamic approach to diversity, both on screen and behind the scenes,” he says.

A key finding of the report is the contrast between the representations of white, cisgender and gay identities compared to those of Two-Spirit, trans and gender diverse people and people of color. The latter are seen as the most underrepresented in the entire sector.

Meanwhile, gay men are seen as the least underrepresented and are less likely to realize that other identities are being left out.

In doing so, however, the article points to models that could flip the script. More than half of respondents specifically brought up CBCs Kind of in their responses as a bastion of representation and an example of what queer and trans creators can do when given financial support.

“Like a show like Kind of exists, one hopes that there will be an effort to bring more trans, non-binary, and intersectional stories into the mix. The strange thing about the Canadian industry is that there’s more of an attitude of, ‘Well, we did that. Let’s move on.’ As a result, representation does not necessarily lead to more representation,” said screenwriter and producer JP Larocque.

Research for the PTP pink paper was held from late 2023 to 2024 in both English and French. The work was supported by the Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada.