LGBTQ characters have been on TV since the 1950s — albeit usually just for one “very special” episode. Whether embarrassingly ignorant or surprisingly progressive, these episodes document pop culture’s evolving relationship with queer characters. Before Ellen, Will and Jack took the lead, classic TV shows had these gay episodes.
Blanche learns that being gay isn't just a phase in one of Golden Girls' many gay episodes.
How did these jokes and storylines remain culturally acceptable as recently as 2005?
The '70s police sitcom featured some of the first recurring gay characters, but it also kinda made them into a punchline.
After decades of starts and stops, Ellen DeGeneres finally gave TV its first LGBTQ lead character.
With one episode, Roseanne tackled issues that are relevant to LGBT teens and adults.
Early questions about Chandler's sexuality introduces one of Friends' most regrettable go-to themes.
Season Three's "My Brother's Keeper" totally nailed one aspect of gay life.
In Season One's "The Boys in the Bar," Cheers tackled homophobia head-on.