People are sharing the first time they saw queer characters on screen – and it’s a blast from the past
People are sharing the first time they remember seeing queer characters on screen, and it’s the blast from the past we all needed.
LGBT+ representation in film and television has come a long way over the last 20 years, with queer characters now a regular feature in many television shows and films.
But that wasn’t always the case – once upon a time, LGBT+ characters often only appeared as the butt of a joke, or worse, only appeared in fleeting moments where they experienced shocking violence.
The result is that many queer people grew up searching desperately for some kind of positive representation of themselves – and that kind of representation was in short supply.
Many shared their personal stories, revealing how seeing queer people on television and in film helped them to understand their identities better – even when those depictions were problematic.
Queer people reflected on characters in Mrs Doubtfire and Dawson’s Creek
A number of people reflected on Robin Williams’ 1993 film Mrs Doubtfire, which featured Harvey Fierstein and Scott Capurro as “Uncle Frank and Aunt Jack”. It may not have been the best LGBT+ representation ever, but for many, just seeing a gay couple on screen was enough to help them better understand themselves.
— Ben Haist (@bhaist) February 1, 2021
For many others, the first moment they saw a queer person on screen came when Ellen DeGeneres came out – both in real life and in her sitcom – in 1997.
Plenty of others spoke about the first time they saw legendary drag queen RuPaul on television.
RuPaul, actually, as Jan’s guidance counselor in The Brady Bunch Movie. I said she was a pretty lady and my mom laughed but my dad didn’t care for that at allllllll https://t.co/9aD0Eh1QRu— Brendan Foehr (@Lifes_Not_Foehr) February 1, 2021
Plenty of people also reflected on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the first time they saw queer representation on television, for obvious reasons, while others paid tribute to Dawson’s Creek.
buffy the vampire slayer; tara and willow ? https://t.co/dLkjtvpFC7
— taylor (@harryDAMNSON) February 1, 2021
I was 13. I barely saw it because my eyes were filled with tears. My mom said 'aw' very quietly. I kind of regret not telling her I was gay and this was the first moment of my life I felt like that might be an okay thing. https://t.co/TljncMRTZe pic.twitter.com/MH2vb6JsOL— demi without a date (@demisaysstuff) February 2, 2021
But it wasn’t just television that made the cut – some saw queer characters on screen for the first time in the likes of The Devil Wears Prada and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Finish this sentence: The first time I remember seeing an LGBTQ+ person on screen was… I mean it’s got to be Rocky Horror Picture Show ? https://t.co/tr5TQEJi1u pic.twitter.com/JFhtFunVcC— Adamski (@AdamskiJonDicky) February 2, 2021
For others, their first taste of queerness on screen came in the form of Scar in Disney’s The Lion King. While he never explicitly states his sexuality, we think we can safely claim him as one of our own.
Others reflected on seeing queer characters in soaps like EastEnders, while some heaped praise on shows like Will and Grace and the original run of Queer Eye for representing LGBT+ people when doing so was not yet the norm.
While all of those television shows and films made their own contribution to LGBT+ representation on screen, it’s incredible to see just how far things have moved on since.
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