Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Television Characters

by David A. Wyatt
Copyright ©2000 David Wyatt

[version=25 June 2001]

For several years now I have been trying to compile a list of television programs that have included gay/lesbian/bisexual characters as a part of their regular (or semi-regular) casts. Many shows have `dealt' with sexual orientation in a single episode or story line, but just how many have included gay, lesbian or bisexual characters on a regular (or recurring) basis? This is the list I have. My intention is to keep the list to network and widely-syndicated entertainment shows in the English language.

To be listed a character should have appeared in at least three episodes and be explicitly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. Effeminate (but not gay) male characters, manish (but not lesbian) female characters, and gender shifting science fiction characters are generally not listed. For the purposes of this list, a character is described as `recurring' if he or she has appeared in at least three (3) episodes.

If you can recall any other shows, or can correct errors or omissions in this list, please e-mail to:

The latest version of this list is always available on the World Wide Web at the URL:

1.1 The TV networks

1.2 Program Index

[version=10 September 2016 (overall)]

Characters by decade of debut: 1961-1970 (1 character documented), 1971-1980 (59 characters documented), 1981-1990 (89 characters documented), 1991-2000 (338 characters documented), 2001-present (1048 characters documented to date).

A: Absolutely Fabulous, Action, After Henry, After the Beep, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agony Again, Agony, The Aliens, All In The Family, All My Children (1983), All My Children (1995-2004), All My Children (2006-present), All That Glitters, Allen Gregory, 'Allo, 'Allo, Amazing Race, American Crime, American Dad, An American Family, American High, American Idol, American Journal, And the Beat Goes On, Angels, Anger Management, Animal Kingdom, Anything But Love, Archer, Are You Being Served? Again!, Are You Being Served?, Arrow, As If (UK), As If (USA), As the World Turns (1988-1989), As the World Turns (2005-2010), At Home With the Braithwaites, Attachments, Australia's Perfect Couple, Awkward.,

B: Babylon 5, Backstrom, Bad Girls, Ball Four, Banana, Bare Essence, Barney Miller, Batman, Beane's of Boston, Beautiful People, Bedtime, Beggars & Choosers, Being Erica, Being Mary Jane, Bette, Between the Lines, Beverly Hills 90210, Big Brother (Australia), Big Brother (UK, 2000), Big Brother (UK 2001-present), Big Brother (USA), Big Love, The Biggest Loser, The Bill, Black Sails, Blackpool, The Bob Newhart Show, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Book Group, The Book of Daniel, The Borgias, Boston Public, The Box, Boy Meets Boy, Brass, Breakers, The Brian Benben Show, Brideshead Revisited, The Brittas Empire, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Brookside (1985-1990), Brookside (1991-2003), Brothers & Sisters, Brothers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bump!, Burnside, By Appointment With Dr. Keith, Byker Grove,

C: Cagney and Lacey, Californication, Camp, Caprica, The Carrie Diaries, Casualty (1996-2000), Casualty (2007-present), Chasing Life, Check It Out, Chicago Fire, Chicago Hope, Chozen, Chris & John to the Rescue!, The Chris & John Show, Chris & John's Road Trip, City Life, The City (Canada), The City (US), The Class, The Cleveland Show, The Closer, CodCo, The Comeback, Commander In Chief, Cop Rock, The Corner Bar, Coronation Street (1998-present), Coronation Street (2003-present), Courthouse, Coverguy, Crapston Villas, SE69, Crashing, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Crew, Crossroads, Crumbs, Cucumber, Cuffs, Cutters, Cybill,

D: Daddy's Girls, Dallas, Dalziel & Pascoe, Dance Academy, Dante's Cove, Dark Angel, Dawson's Creek, Days of Our Lives (1977), Days of Our Lives (2011-present), Dead of Summer, Deadwood, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Dig, Dirt, Dirty Sexy Money, Do Not Disturb, Doctor, Doctor, Doctor Who, Doctors, Dominion, Donald Strachey Mysteries, Don't Ask, Don't Trust the B**** In Apartment 23, Don't Wait Up, A Double Shot At Love, Downton Abby, Drawn Together, Dream On, Drop the Dead Donkey, DTLA, Dynasty,

E: EastEnders (1986-1989), EastEnders (1991-2000), EastEnders (2001-present), The Education of Max Bickford, Eldorado, 11 Cameras, Ellen, Emily Owens, M.D., Emmerdale (1993-2000), Emmerdale (2004-present), Empire, E.N.G., Entourage, ER (1995-2001), ER (2005-2009), Everwood, Eye Candy, Eyes,

F: F Troop, Fair City, Fairy Tale, Faking It, Fame, Family Affairs, Fear the Walking Dead, Felicity, Fingersmith, Fired Up, First Comes Love, First Years, Flash Forward, The Flash, Flipping Out, The Following, Footballers' Wive$, Forgive Me, The Fosters, Four Kings, 413 Hope St., Friends, The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty, Further Tales of the City,

G: Game of Thrones, GCB, Gems, General Hospital: Night Shift, General Hospital (1994-1998), General Hospital (2005-2006, 2012-present), Gigantic, Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie, Girlfriends, The Girl's Guide to Depravity, Girls, Glee, Glue, Go Girls, Go On, Godiva's, Golden Girls, The Good Wife, Gossip Girl, Gotham, G.P., Grace And Favour, Graceland, The Graham Norton Effect, The Graham Norton Show, Grange Hill, Grantchester, Greek, Grey's Anatomy, Grosse Pointe, G-Spot, Guiding Light (1995-1997), Guiding Light (2009-present),

H: Hail To the Chief, Half & Half, Happily Divorced, Happy Endings, The Hard Times of RJ Berger, Hardy Boys, The Haves and the Have Nots, He Shoots He Scores, Head Over Heals, Heading Out, HeartBeat, Heartbreak High, Hearts Afire, Hex, High Society, Hill Street Blues, Hit & Miss, Hit the Floor, Holby City, Hollyoaks: In the City, Hollyoaks (1995-2000), Hollyoaks (2006-present), Hollywood Beat, Hollywood Squares, Homicide: Life on the Street, Hooperman, Hope and Gloria, Hot l Baltimore, Hotel Babylon, House Husbands, How I Met Your Mother, How To Get Away With Murder, Howard's Way,

I: I Now Pronounce You..., Ice Blues, Impastor, In Living Color, In Sickness and Health, In the Big House, In the City, In the Flesh, In the Life, In Treatment, Isidingo, It Ain't Half Hot, Mum, It Takes a Worried Man, It's All Relative, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia,

J: Jacob and Joshua: Nemesis Rising, Jawbreaker, The Jewel In the Crown, John Callahan's Quads, The John Laroquette Show,

K: Keeping Up Appearances, The Kids In the Hall: Death Comes to Town, The Kids In the Hall, Kingdom, Kings, Kink, Kiss Me Guido,

L: The L Word, The L.A. Complex, L.A. Law, The Lair, The Larry Sanders Show, Last Tango In Halifax, Law & Order, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Liberty Street, Linc's, Lipstick Jungle, Little Britain, Live Shot, Living in Captivity, Locker Room, The Lofters, London Spy, The Lone Ranger, The Long Firm, Looking, Love Monkey, Love, Sidney, Lovespring International, Lush Life,

M: Mad About You, Mad Men, Madison, The Magicians, Major Crimes, Malibu Country, Mapp & Lucia, Marry Me, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Masters of Sex, The McCarthys, Me and Frankie Z, Melrose Place (1992-1999), Melrose Place (2009-present), Men In Trees, Mercy, Metrosexuality, Mickey Mouse Club, Mile High, The Millers, Mission Hill, Modern Family, The Mole, Moral Orel, More Tales of the City, Mr. Robot, Mrs. Brown's Boys, Murder One, Murdoch Mysteries, Muscle, My Fabulous Gay Wedding, My Family, My Mad Fat Diary, My Name Is Earl, My So-Called Life, Mystery Girls,

N: Naked Josh, Naked News Daily Male, The Nancy Walker Show, Nash Bridges, Nashville, NCIS, Necessary Roughness, Neighbours (1994-1996), Neighbours (2004-2005, 2010-present), The New Normal, The Night Shift, 90210, Nip/Tuck, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, No Heroics, Noah's Arc, Normal, Ohio, Northern Exposure, Number 96, Nurse Jackie, NY Graham Norton, NYPD Blue,

O: The O.C., The Office, Offspring, Oh Grow Up, Olympus, On the Other Hand, Death, Once Upon a Time, One Big Happy, 1 Girl 5 Gays, The 100, One Life To Live (1992-1993, 1997-1998), One Life To Live (2004-2005, 2009-2010), One Tree Hill, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, The Originals, Orphan Black, Our Hero, Out Of Practice, Outland, Oz,

P: Pacific Drive, Pan Am, Paradise Falls, Partners (2012), Partners (2014-present), Party Girl, Party of Five, Passions, Peanuts, Penmarric, Penny Dreadful, A Place to Call Home, The Playboy Club, Playing the Field, Please Like Me, Political Animals, Popular, Porridge, A Portrait of a Marriage, The Practice, Pretty Little Liars, Prisoner: Cellblock H, Privileged, Profiler, Project Runway, Public Morals, Pursuit of Happiness, Push,

Q: Quads, Quantico, Queer As Folk 2, Queer As Folk (UK), Queer As Folk (US), Queer Eye For the Straight Guy,

R: Raising the Bar, Raw FM, Raw, Read Out!, The Real O'Neals, The Real World (1992-2000), The Real World (2002-present), Reaper, Red Band Society, Relativity,, Reno 911!, Rescue Me, Revelations, Revenge, Rhona, Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World, Ripper Street, River City, Riverdale, The Roads to Freedom, Robson Arms, Roc, Roseanne, Rosewood, The Royals, Rubicon, Rude Awakenings,

S: St. Elsewhere, Santa Barbara, Sara, The Sarah Silverman Program, Saturday Night Live (2008-2013), Saturday Night Live (Also Rans), Saving Hope, Scandal, Schitt's Creek, Scream Queens, Sean Saves the World, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, The Secret Life of Us, Seed, Seinfeld, Sesame Street, Sex & Violence, Sex and the City, Shades of Blue, Shameless (UK), Shameless (USA), The Shield, $#*! My Dad Says, Shock to the System, Shortland Street (1992-2000), Shortland Street (2006-present), A Shot At Love, Shout, The Simpsons, Sinchronicity, Sirens (UK), Sirens (USA), Sisters, 6Degrees, Six Feet Under, Skins, The Slap, Sleeper Cell, Smash, Snips, So Graham Norton, So NoTORIous, Soap, SoGayTV, Some of My Best Friends, Sons and Daughters, Sophie, The Sopranos, Sordid Lives: The Series, South of Nowhere, South Park, Southland, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Spartacus: Vengeance, Spartacus: War of the Damned, Spartacus, Spin and Marty, Spin City, Spun Out, Spyder Games, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Starved, The State Within, Steven and Chris, Strike Back, Suburgatory, Suddenly Susan, Sugar Rush, The Super Adventure Team, Survivor (2000), Survivor (2001-present), Sweat,

T: Taggart, Tales of the City, Teen Wolf, Telenovela, Tenko, Terry and Julian, These Arms of Mine, These Friends of Mine, Third Man Out, 30 Rock, Thirtysomething, This Life, This Life, Three's Company, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Tinsel Town, To Play the King, Together, Too Close to Home, Torchwood, Total Security, The Tracey Ullman Show, Train 48, Trauma, True Blood, True Detective, The Tudors, 24, Two and a Half Men, Tyrant,

U: U8TV: The Lofters, Ugly Betty, Undateable, Under the Dome, Undercover Princes, UnderCovers, Undressed (1999-2000), Undressed (2001-2002), Unhappily Ever After, The United States of Tara,

V: V Graham Norton, The Vampire Diaries, Veronica Mars, Veronica's Closet, A Very Peculiar Practice, Vicious, The View, Viva Blackpool, Viva Laughlin,

W: The Walking Dead, The War At Home, Warehouse 13, Wasteland, Water Rats, Waterloo Road, Weeds, White Collar, Whitney, Who Wants To Be A Superhero, Will & Grace, Winners & Losers, The Wire, Wizards vs. Aliens, Women In Prison, World Without End,

X: Xena: Warrior Princess,

Y: You, Me and the Apocalypse, You Rang, M'Lord?, Young & Hungry, The Young and the Restless,

2.0 The Shows and Characters

2.1 1961 - 1970

2.2 1971 - 1980

Number 96 (serial drama) TEN 1972-1977 Life in and around a block of flats in Sydney, NSW. Don and Dudley were residents and lovers. "... Number 96 created a sensation when it went on the air in 1972, dealing graphically with homosexuality, drug and alcohol addictions, ambitious and promiscuous people, insanity, rape, and sex---mostly sex." (Brooks & Marsh, 3rd ed., p. 616). Through the long run of the show, Don had affairs or relationships with Dudley, Simon, Grant, Rob, Joshua, Paul, and Bruce. Don was also the the object of the affections of Brad, Dr. Pascal, and Phillip. Dudley, Simon, Grant, and Bruce were bisexuals, Karen was a lesbian (and a witch), and Robyn turned out to be a transsexual, much to her boyfriend's surprise.

An American version of the show (NBC, 1980-1981 and more of a sitcom) was much tamer and did not include any gay characters.

The Corner Bar (sitcom) ABC 1972-1973

Set in a New York City neighborhood bar called Grant's Tomb. The regular customers included Peter, a gay set designer. The show was reworked for the 1973 season in several elements, including dropping him, but the show was cancelled again anyway.

Are You Being Served? (sitcom) BBC 1972-1984

The series was set in the mens- and womenswear departments of the fictitious store `Grace Brothers'. Mr. Humphries was a camp assistant whose catch-phrase was `I'm free.' In the early episodes there were just hints that he was gay, but latterly it seemed directly obvious. It was never actually stated, though (and has been denied by both the writers and Inman). See sequel Grace and Favour. An American version was developed under the title Beane's of Boston with Alan Sues in the role of George Humphreys. The pilot was aired on CBS in 1979 but the show was not picked up as a series.

An American Family (cinema-verite documentary) PBS 1973, HBO 1983

The film crew recorded 300 hours in seven months of the life of the Loud family of Santa Barbara, California, and edited the footage into twelve one-hour episodes. In the course of the filming, son Lance came out to his parents. HBO aired a one-hour follow-up show in 1983.

It Ain't Half Hot, Mum (sitcom) BBC 1974-1982

The character `Gloria' is considered to be a poof by the other members of the concert party (in WW2 Burma) because he plays all the female parts.

Porridge (prison sitcom) BBC 1974-1978

Gay Gordon was a semi-regular character. He worked in the kitchens but very little use was made of the character.

Hot l Baltimore (sitcom) ABC 1975

Situation comedy set in the dilapidated Hotel Baltimore (where the `E' in the sign was burned out). All the characters were in some way eccentric. George and Gordon's eccentricity was that they were a homosexual couple.

Barney Miller (police sitcom) ABC 1975-1982

This sitcom was set in New York City's Greenwich Village and included a variety of recurring bit parts for victims and perpetrators. Among these roles were one male couple, Marty and Darryl. Internal Affairs' Lt. Scanlon targets Officer Zatelli after he learns Zatelli is gay.

All In The Family (sitcom) CBS 1971-1979

Archie Bunker performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a woman passed out in the back of his cab. Beverly turned out to be a man, and made two other visits to the Bunker household. (Episodes "113. Archie the Hero", "140. Beverly Rides Again", and "168. Edith's Crisis of Faith".)

The Bob Newhart Show (sitcom) CBS 1972-1978

Occasional character, a patient of psychiatrist Bob Hartley (Bob Newhart) seeking help with his writer's block. Sexual orientation mentioned only once, in episode "Some of My Best Friends Are...".

The Box (serial drama) TEN 1974-1977

Series set amongst the behind the scenes bedhopping and general goings on at a TV station. It was another program of the Number 96 genre. Lee was a TV station employee and quite stereotypically gay. He dated closeted newsreader John. Both Viki and Felicity were bisexual.

Ball Four (sitcom) CBS 1976

Baseball sitcom. [Further information requested. Credits include "Bill Westlake, the rookie" played by David-James Carroll]

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (sitcom) Syndication 1976-1977

Soap opera parody included a bisexual occasional character. Minor characters Ed and Howard were not just roommates.

The Nancy Walker Show (situation comedy) ABC 1976

Nancy Walker played talent agent Nancy Kitterage, operating out of the home she shared with her navy husband and a unemployed gay actor paying his room and board by working as Nancy's secretary.

Snips (sitcom) Syndicated "late 1970s"

Comedy centred around a divorced hairdresser and his ex-wife. Their friend Michael was a series regular. This sitcom was developed for NBC for the fall 1976 season but cancelled before it aired. Episodes reportedly appeared in syndication in Australia in the late 1970s. (Capsuto pp. 127-128)

Soap (serial sitcom) ABC 1977-1981

Jodie was a regular character throughout the run of this show, although he was eventually involved with women. Dennis was the very closeted pro-football quarterback involved with Jodie the first season. Alice was a lesbian friend of Jodie's later in the show's run.

All That Glitters (sitcom) Syndicated 1977

Sitcom set in the world of high fashion modelling. Linda was a model, and a male-to-female transsexual. (Capsuto p. 303).

Angels (hospital drama[?]) BBC 1976-1982

Series about nurses. Ken campaigned to save the N[ational] H[ealth] S[ervice] from Margaret Thatcher, and the hospital from closing. Paul was Ken's lover in a couple of episodes.

Agony (serial sitcom) LWT for ITV 1979-1981

Rob and Michael were a gay couple who lived next door to Jane Lucas (Maureen Lipman), an Agony Aunt (advice columnist). There were a couple of stories dealing with gay issues directly and they were in almost all the episodes. Michael eventually commits suicide, after his being outed on a live phone-in radio show, sacked (fired) from his job, and failing to find other work. See also the sequel Agony Again.

Prisoner: Cellblock H (serial prison drama) TEN 1979-1986

Serial drama set in a women's detention centre in Australia. Among the cast of prisoners was a lesbian named Franky. As the series developed, various characters came and went, including Judy, who committed a crime so she could be jailed with Sharon, and bisexual prisoner Doreen.

Penmarric (serial drama) BBC 1979

Multi-generational serial drama set in British mining. Phillip, about to be married, falls in love with mining engineer Alun. Alun is killed in a mining accident and Phillip eventually commits suicide.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (espionage miniseries) BBC 1979

George Smiley discovers a mole - his own wife's lover - who is unmasked and eventually killed by a male lover, Jim Prideaux (Ian Bannen), whom he betrayed during a mission to Prague. (Howes, p. 847)

Together (serial drama) Southern Television for ITV 1980-1981

Daytime serial about residents of Rutherford Court.

2.3 1981 - 1990

2.4 1991 - 2000

2.5 2001 - present

3.0 Some Also Rans

4.0 Some That Don't Belong

5.0 References

Component Last Change: 1961-1970: Wednesday, 05-Sep-2012 16:06:53 CDT, 1971-1980: Thursday, 24-Nov-2011 11:09:44 CST, 1981-1990: Thursday, 14-Apr-2011 20:15:38 CDT, 1991-2000: Wednesday, 12-Feb-2014 16:45:42 CST, 2001-present: Saturday, 10-Sep-2016 22:56:13 CDT, Networks: Friday, 16-Feb-2007 14:01:32 CST, Show Index: Saturday, 10-Sep-2016 22:54:20 CDT.