Some milestone media portrayals
Billy Crystal’s prime-time portrayal of the openly gay Jodie Dallas seemed daring when the spoofy sitcom “Soap” premiered in 1977. Some other key film and television characters who helped build public acceptance of gays and lesbians,
(1977-1981) Billy Crystal plays the first openly gay character in broadcast primetime.
(1993) Tom Hanks wins an Oscar for his performance as a gay attorney with AIDS.
‘The Real World: San Francisco’
(1994) MTV’s audience sees Pedro Zamora’s struggle with AIDS and the same-sex commitment ceremony between Zamora and his partner.
(1994-1998) More than 40 million people watch as Ellen DeGeneres’ character comes out as gay on her sitcom in 1997.
‘Will and Grace’
(1998-2006) Vice President Joe Biden later says the NBC sitcom did more to educate Americans about gay issues than anything else.
‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’
(2003-2007) Bravo’s Emmy-winning reality TV series features five gay men who give makeovers to straight men.
(2005) The Ang Lee-directed film stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two cowboys in a gay relationship.
(2009-2015) Fox’s show about a high school singing club regularly features LGBT characters and is credited with helping teens deal with their sexuality.
(2009-present) The relationship between characters Mitch and Cam normalizes gay couples in the mainstream.
(2014-2015) Gay characters’ stories and relationships take center stage on the HBO show.
“SIX FEET UNDER,” which ran on HBO from 2001 to 2005, prominently featured the relationship between two gay characters, David (Michael C. Hall) and Keith (Mathew St. Patrick).