Thanks to ABC Family’s new series The Fosters for sponsoring this post. Click here to see more of the discussion. Also, watch the series premiere of The Fosters on Monday, June 3 at 9/8c only on ABC Family.
I’m 42 years old, but my gay lifespan has been much shorter. I didn’t come out until well into my adulthood. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention to how our culture treated gay people over the years – in particular, how the media presented them.
If you’re gay, odds are good that TV portrayals had an influence on your coming out process – for better or for worse, depending on the decade. Maybe you watched a show with a character with whom you identified, who made you feel less isolated. Maybe you watched a show where gay people were the target of mean-spirited mockery, and it kept you living in a closet longer than you might’ve otherwise.
Over the last couple years, television has gone to considerable effort to normalize gay characters and bring them into the mainstream. But this certainly wasn’t always the case. When I look back over my long life as a TV viewer, I can think of several characters that influenced my own coming out – in a range of ways. You may have a list of your own. Here’s mine.
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