Gay CultureHomophobiaLGBT HistoryPop CultureTelevison

LGBTs on American TV

In Vito Russo’s film, “The Celluloid Closet” the narrator says, “Hollywood, that great maker of myths, taught straight people what to think about gays and gay people what to think about themselves.” 

While referring to the silver screen, the same could easily be said for the small screen as well.  In the second half of the 20th century television became  far more pervasive than film; but its depiction of LGBT characters and subjects was much the same.

Matthew Rettenmund, author and blogger of, has written an in depth look at eight decades of gay on the airwaves in “The Queens’ Messenger: A Brief History Of LGBTQ Characters, People, Mentions & Moments On (Mostly Primetime) U.S. TV — 1920s-2000”

“It’s been messy, it’s included some unfortunate missteps, and it’s always been a mix of frustrating, exhilarating, contentious and — in the case of the arts — insulting, entertaining or both.

I decided, in early 2017, to compile a list of TV moments featuring real or fictional LGBTQ people, major and minor (aren’t they all major when you’re a closeted kid in the Dust Bowl?) appearances that demonstrate the trajectory from “the love that dare not speak its name” to “we’re here, we’re queer” to GBF to where we are now, when LGBTQ characters are often included on TV and are often multi-dimensional, and when real-life LGBTQ people are all over television.”

Read the fascinating full post via HERE!

O’Connor, Rob Reiner (b. 1947) and Geary working out what’s gay, what’s not (Image via CBS)

(Main image courtesy of

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