The war for LGBTQ equality still rages on in America… mostly in Arizona. But luckily, television is making that struggle a little easier. More balanced and accurate portrayals of people under the rainbow flag are starting to crop up. This helps the community both on and off-screen. Openly gay actors like Zachary Quinto, Neil Patrick Harris, and Ellen Page can play straight. And straight actors like Cameron Monaghan, Andre Braugher, and Sara Ramirez can play for the other team. And LGBT actors like Laverne Cox and Jonathan Groff can play characters a little closer to themselves.
Television is making some pretty major political moves by exploring more than just character whose sexual identities are more complex than the labels of gay and lesbian. Cox has used her role on Orange Is the New Black to spread awareness of transphobia and other issues affecting the transgender community. There also is a movement towards exploring queer sexuality. Distinctly different from bisexuality, queer people don’t define their romantic partners by gender, instead embracing a fluid sexuality. There are even roles of LGBTQ young adults and children that allow these parties to be themselves, perhaps paving the way for boys who paint their nails and wear makeup to be free from bullying and discrimination.
Here are a few of our favorite, and arguably some of the most influential, LGBTQ characters on television. They show there is a wide spectrum of sexual preferences and gender identities but ultimately we are all people.