10 great LGBT TV characters

This week is Pride Week in London, celebrating the achievements and providing a platform for the whole local LGBT . community. Every year the Pride activities culminate in a parade through London’s West End and it’s an amazingly colourful, vibrant and moving thing to behold and join in on whether you’re a member of the community or not. While many laws around the LGBT community have changed and are changing there are still a lot of social norms that need to change to provide genuine lived equality. Personally I think one of television and films’ most powerful positives is its ability to expose people to things they might not be used to and normalise them. While 20 years ago LGBT characters where almost unheard of more and more strong and interesting characters are making their way onto our screens and I’d like to believe that that’s had a lot of influence over changing attitudes. With that in mind and to show my support I bring you 10 great LGBT TV characters.

Cam

Cameron Tucker
Played by: Eric Stonestreet
Show: Modern Family (2009-)
Cameron brings an amazing juxtaposition of a football coaching, farm raised tough-guy with a show-tune loving drama queen and it’s fah-bulous!
Cameron Tucker: I could so be a womanizer.
Mitchell Pritchett: Or you could be someone who just stepped out of a machine called the Womanizer.” 

Captain Jack

Captain Jack Harkness
Played by: John Barrowman
Shows: Torchwood (2006 -2011), Doctor Who (2005 -)
This immortal time traveler has an eye for the ladies… and the men… and the aliens… and some plants…
“Captain Jack Harkness: How are you, Ianto?
Ianto Jones: All the better for having you back, sir.
Captain Jack Harkness: Could we maybe drop the “sir” now? I mean, while I was away, I was thinking. Maybe we could, you know, when this is all done: dinner, a movie…
Ianto Jones: Are you asking me out on a date?
Captain Jack Harkness: Interested?
Ianto Jones: [scoffs] Well, as long as it’s not in an office. Some fetishes should be kept to yourself…”

Jack

Jack McFarland
Played by: Sean Hayes
Show: Will & Grace (1998 – 2006)
Jack was the original bitchy TV queen and his crazy partnership with pill-popping, drunk Karen is comedy gold.
“Jack McFarland: You know, no one took me on vacation when I broke up with… what’s his face, uh… bleached hair, tattoo, goatee, who am I talking about?
Karen Walker: God, I don’t know honey. You just described a needle in a gaystack”

Kurt

Kurt Hummel
Played by: Chris Colfer
Show: Glee (2009 – 2015)
Watching Kurt come out, accept himself, confront his bullies and grow into a strong proud man was one of the best things about Glee.
“Kurt Hummel: Hey! I am talking to you!
Dave Karofsky: Girls’ locker room is next door.
Kurt Hummel: What is your problem?
Dave Karofsky: Excuse me?
Kurt Hummel: What are you so scared of?
Dave Karofsky: Besides you sneaking in here to peek at my junk?
Kurt Hummel: Oh, yeah, every straight guy’s nightmare that all of us gays are secretly out to molest and convert you. Well, guess what, ham hock? You’re not my type!
Dave Karofsky: That right?
Kurt Hummel: Yeah, I don’t dig on chubby boys who sweat too much and are going to be bald by the time they’re thirty.
Dave Karofsky: Do not push me, Hummel.
Kurt Hummel: You going to hit me? Do it.
Dave Karofsky: Don’t push me!
Kurt Hummel: Hit me, ’cause it’s not going to change who I am. You can’t punch the gay out of me anymore than I can punch the ignoramus out of you!
Dave Karofsky: I said get out of my face!
Kurt Hummel: You are nothing but a scared little boy who can’t handle how extraordinarily ordinary you are! “

Lana_Winters

Lana Winters
Played by: Sarah Paulson
Show: American Horror Story (2011- )
Lana’s incarceration and torture in a mental institution because of her sexuality serves as a sobering reminder of the terrible way members of the LGBT community were treated in very recent history.
Lana Winters: I’m goddamn plucky, remember?”

Maxxie

Maxxie Oliver
Played by: Mitch Hewer
Show: Skins (2007 – 2013)
Sweet, sensitive Maxxie might not have had the most exciting storylines on Skins but he was always my favourite character and watching him and Anwar realise their friendship despite Anwar’s religious bias is very touching.
“Maxxie: I’m gay, Mr Kharral; I always have been.
Istiak Kharral: It’s a fucking stupid, messed up world. I’ve got my God; he speaks to me every day. Some things I just can’t work out, so I leave them be. Okay? Even if I think they’re wrong. Because I know, one day he’ll make me understand. I’ve got that trust; it’s called belief. I’m a lucky man.”

Oberyn

Oberyn Martell
Played by: Pedro Pascal
Show: Game of Thrones (2011- )
Like the rest of Dorne’s the ruling family, The Martells, Oberyn is a liberal who is as fiery in temperament as he is in the bedroom no matter what the gender of his partner.
“Oberyn Martell: ‘Tis a big and beautiful world. Most of us live and die in the same corner where we were born and never get to see any of it. I don’t want to be most of us.”

Oscar

Oscar Martinez
Played by: Oscar Nuñez
Show: The Office (2005 – 2013)
What makes Oscar different from a lot of onscreen gay characters is that he’s not stereotypically flamboyant. Watching the other characters deal with the revelation of his sexuality comes across as very realistic and by poking fun at their prejudices proves how silly they are.
“Michael Scott: [Michael has called Oscar faggy without knowing Oscar is gay] Listen, man, I am so sorry. I had no idea.
Oscar: Oh, it’s fine. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.
Michael Scott: No. No. No, it’s not. I just… I feel terrible about it. I have been calling people faggy since I was in junior high, and I have never made this mistake. If I don’t know how to behave, it is because I am just so far the opposite way. You know? I’m just… I… I can’t even imagine the thing… Maybe we could go out for a beer sometime and you could tell me how you do that to another dude.
Oscar: That sounds like a great, wonderful idea. Let’s do that.”

Pam

Pam De Beaufort
Played by: Kristin Bauer van Straten
Show: True Blood (2008 – 2014)
Lesbian vampire, Pam, is one tough cookie – a predator not only when it comes to food but also when it comes to women.
“Pam: I should have told you that lavender is my favorite color.
Sookie Stackhouse: Pam, I’m in no mood for lesbian weirdness.”

Sophia1

Sophia Burset
Played by: Laverne Cox
Show: Orange is the New Black (2013 –  )
As a transgender woman woman in a women’s prison Sophia already has her work cut out for her but it’s as we find out more about her past and her journey to finding herself that we come to care about and root for her.
“Sophia Burset: “I don’t do sausage on my breakfast sandwich.”

Willow

Willow Rosenberg
Played by: Alyson Hannigan
Show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003)
Watching Willow find true love with Tara was a beautiful experience as well as being a trailblazing one for a teen TV show.
” Willow: What did I have for breakfast this morning? Do you remember?
Tara Maclay: Huh?
Willow: I-I wanna say bagel, but I think that was yesterday. You had two eggs sunny side up. I remember because they were wiggling at me like little boobs.
Tara Maclay: Sassy eggs.”

12 Comments

  1. LOVE Jack McFarland, He’s hilarious. And while I do like Cam, I prefer Mitchell.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Mitchell is great too. They’re such a fun couple.

  2. Cam is my favorite from your list. The writers on MF are amazing!

    1. abbiosbiston

      MF is one of my favourite comedy series of all time. Every episode kills me.

  3. Amazing post. It’s been great to see LGBT* characters in television and film go from one-note “they’re gay!” characterisations to “they’re an interesting character who is also gay” characterisations. Does that even make sense? I feel like that in and of itself helps the cause.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thanks! I know exactly what you mean. That’s what I am trying to get at by normalisation. I think some people might still not think they know any gay people or think that gay people are somehow weird but by seeing that people are people with the same kind of feelings and problems that they have no matter what their sexuality is makes them feel more comfortable and accepting.

  4. Great article Abbi, it brought back some memories 🙂

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thanks!

  5. I like Pam, but I love Lafayette!! And their interactions are the best. Hooker, please!

    1. abbiosbiston

      Lafayette is great too!

  6. This is a great post lady with some solid picks!

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thanks!

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