Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Television Characters

by David A. Wyatt
Copyright ©1999 David Wyatt

[version=31 October 2002]

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:

dawwpg@shaw.ca

The latest version of this list is always available on the World Wide Web at the URL: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/tv-characters.html

1.1 The TV networks

1.2 Program Index

[version=17 November 2014 (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 (917 characters documented to date).

A: Absolutely Fabulous, Action, After Henry, After the Beep, Agony Again, Agony, 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 Dad, An American Family, American High, American Idol, American Journal, And the Beat Goes On, Angels, Anger Management, 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, Bad Girls, Ball Four, Bare Essence, Barney Miller, Batman, Beane's of Boston, Beautiful People, Bedtime, Beggars & Choosers, Being Erica, 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, 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, Commander In Chief, Cop Rock, The Corner Bar, Coronation Street (1998-present), Coronation Street (2003-present), Courthouse, Coverguy, Crapston Villas, SE69, The Crew, Crossroads, Crumbs, 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), Deadwood, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, 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), E.N.G., Entourage, ER (1995-2001), ER (2005-2009), Everwood, Eyes,

F: F Troop, Fair City, Fairy Tale, Faking It, Fame, Family Affairs, Felicity, Fingersmith, Fired Up, First Comes Love, First Years, Flash Forward, 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, 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 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, 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,

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, Kings, Kink, Kiss Me Guido,

L: The L Word, The L.A. Complex, L.A. Law, The Lair, The Larry Sanders Show, 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, The Lone Ranger, The Long Firm, Looking, Love Monkey, Love, Sidney, Lovespring International, Lush Life,

M: Mad About You, Mad Men, Madison, 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, Mission Hill, Modern Family, The Mole, Moral Orel, More Tales of the City, Mrs. Brown's Boys, Murder One, 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, On the Other Hand, Death, 1 Girl 5 Gays, 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, 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 World (1992-2000), The Real World (2002-present), Reaper, Relativity, renegadepress.com, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, Tenko, Terry and Julian, These Arms of Mine, These Friends of Mine, Third Man Out, 30 Rock, Thirtysomething, This Life, Three's Company, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Tinsel Town, To Play the King, Together, Torchwood, Total Security, The Tracey Ullman Show, Train 48, Trauma, True Blood, 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 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 Rang, M'Lord?, Young & Hungry, The Young and the Restless,

2.0 The Shows and Characters


2.1 1961 - 1970

2.2 1971 - 1980

2.3 1981 - 1990

Brideshead Revisited (drama miniseries) Granada 1981 Based on the Evelyn Waugh novel of the same name.

Love, Sidney (sitcom) NBC 1981-1982

In the made-for-TV movie, Sidney was definitely gay. By the time the series reached the air NBC had forbidden the mention of the character's sexual orientation.

Dynasty (serial drama) ABC 1981-1989, 1991

Ted was Steven's ex-lover, who followed him back to Denver and was killed by Steven's father Blake. For a few episodes Steven roomed platonically with his gay custody lawyer Chris Deegan. For one whole season Steven and Luke courted one another and became lovers, until Moldavian terrorists killed Luke. Bart was a closeted son of Blake's political rival, until he was outed by Adam. In the 4-hour 1991 reunion show, Steven had followed Bart to D.C. and they had become lovers.

Tenko (prisoner-of-war drama) BBC 1981-1984

Series about women interned by the Japanese in Singapore during World War II. Nellie, a nurse, came to care for another prisoner, Sally (Joanne Hole). When a third prisoner, Dorothy, outs them, Sally is disgusted by the suggestion and she disassociates herself from Nellie.

It Takes a Worried Man (sitcom) C4 1981-1984

A gay psychiatrist in this series about a newly divorced man.

Brass (sitcom) Granada for ITV 1982-1984, C4 1990

In Brass there was a character who was based on Sebastian in Brideshead Revisited (always carrying around a teddy bear).

Fame (drama/musical) NBC 1982-1983, syndicated 1983-1986

The movie Fame had one gay character, Montgomery, and he was quickly written out at the start of the television series.

'Allo, 'Allo (sitcom) BBC 1982, 1984-1992

Nazi Lieutenant Gruber has a crush on Rene, the cafe owner and central character in this low comedy about the French Resistance.

All My Children (serial daytime drama) ABC 1970-2011

After Devon McFadden (Tricia Pursley Hawkins, 1977-1981 and 1983-1984) discovered Lynn was a lesbian, she convinced herself that a relationship with a woman was the answer to her problems. Lynn wisely told her that you don't just choose to become a lesbian because your affairs with men don't work out. After about 2 or 3 months, Lynn decided to get on with her life and moved away from Pine Valley. See also All My Children in the 1990s.

Santa Barbara (serial daytime drama) NBC 1984-1993

This soap opera opened its first episode with the release from prison of the wrongly convicted murderer of Channing Capwell Jr. In the course of finding the real killer, it was discovered that Channing's past included affairs with his father's mistress and someone named Lindsay Smith. More investigation turned up that Lindsay was another man. Some of this story was played out in flashback wherein Channing and Lindsay appeared.

Brothers (sitcom) Showtime 1984-1989

Cliff was one of the three Brothers of the title and was much less comfortable with his gayness than his best friend Donald.

The Jewel In the Crown (drama miniseries) Granada 1984

Merrick is deep in the closet. Dixon is very much out. Bronowsky just hints at his preference. Merrick's sexuality is of some relevance to the plot, especially at the end.

Gems (daytime serial drama) [U.K.] 1984-1987

Soapie set in a Covent Garden fashion house. Paul holding hands with his boyfriend in a 1985 episode prompted a letter writing protest from scandalized viewers.

Hail To the Chief (sitcom) ABC 1985

White House chief Secret Service agent is gay, in this sitcom about the first woman president.

In Sickness and Health (sitcom) BBC 1985-1992

The Til Death Us Do Part character Alf Garnet (Archie Bunker in the U.S. version) got someone from social services assigned to him to help after his wife died. This was character was black and gay, infuriating Alf.

Mapp & Lucia (comedy) C4 1985-1986

Whilst Emmeline `Lucia' Lucas and Elizabeth Mapp contested the social leadership of their town, Quaint Irene quietly carried a torch for Lucia. Georgie is a nervous, fussy man who spends his evenings with his embroidery. [I'm not clear if the orientation of either character was explicitly stated.]

Sons and Daughters (serial drama) 7N 1981-1987

Serial drama about the lives and loves of two families and their children (and friends).

St. Elsewhere (hospital drama) NBC 1982-1986

St. Elsewhere often featured guest roles that spanned several episodes, or that recurred periodically over longer time frames. Kevin was the latest generation of a family of hereditary patients at St. Eligius. His lover Brett had AIDS. In another, two-episode story arc, Dr. Anne Cavanero rebuffed the advances of visiting specialist Dr. Christine Holt (Caroline McWilliams).

Hollywood Beat (police drama) ABC 1985

This show was an attempted Miami Vice clone, and George ran the coffee shop where the two principal cops hung out.

Sara (sitcom) NBC 1985

Dennis was one of four young lawyers in this office sitcom. The show didn't last long and star Geena Davis left TV for the movies.

Check It Out (sitcom) CTV and USA 1985-1988

Sitcom set in a supermarket. Leslie was overtly homosexual, and worked at the checkout registers.

Howard's Way (serial drama) [U.K.] 1985-1990

"Upmarket, fearfully smug boating and bonking serial" (Howes, p. 365). In episode seven Polly reveals her marriage to Gerald is a sham, he's gay and needed the marriage to maintain respectability in business.

Brookside (serial drama) C4 1982-2003

A twice weekly serial in which one of the characters is gay. Key to an early plot line where he was `got at' at school by others who found out. He eventually acquired a lover, Chris. See also Brookside after 1991.

EastEnders (serial drama) BBC 1985-present

Colin was a guppie graphics designer who had moved into the gentrifying east end of London. There he met Barry and the two moved in together. After Barry left to join the merchant marine, Colin met Guido, who eventually moved in with him. Queenie belonged to another plotline. He was a jail enforcer working with `the Firm' (the mob). See also EastEnders in the 1990s and EastEnders (2001-present).

Hill Street Blues (police drama) NBC 1981-1987

Occasional roles. Eddie was an informer working for Belker, and snitched on his own lover.

The Tracey Ullman Show (sketch comedy) FOX 1987-1990

Within the sketch format, there were several recurring characters. One such `continuing saga' was that of 14 year old Francesca (Tracy Ullman) who lived with her father David and his lover William. They were depicted as ordinary parents with an unordinary characteristic --- they were gay.

Women In Prison (prison sitcom) FOX 1987-1988

Situation comedy set in a women's prison. Prisoner Bonnie was a gay English hooker.

Hooperman (police sitcom/drama) ABC 1987-1989

Silardi and his female partner DeMont were series regulars. Sometimes a story would revolve around them, but most often it didn't. Rudy was one of Hooperman's tennants. Series set in San Francisco.

As the World Turns (daytime serial drama) CBS 1956-2010

Hank was a dress designer, who had come to town to find occupation away from his HIV+ lover Charles (never seen). Various characters reacted differently to Hank's coming out to them.

Cagney and Lacey (Police drama) CBS 1982-1988

Later in the run of this series, one of the lead policewomen acquired a gay male neighbour, appearing on an occasional basis.

HeartBeat (medical drama) ABC 1988

This short lived drama included among its cast of characters Marilyn, a lesbian nurse-practitioner. Her lover Patti, a caterer, appeared occasionally.

He Shoots He Scores (hockey drama) CBC 1986-1989?

Minor character. It was revealed that the Team U.S.A. coach had been blackmailed using pictures of him kissing his male lover. (Produced simultaneously in French as Lance et Compte for Quebec, France and Switzerland.)

Doctor, Doctor (medical sitcom) CBS 1989-1991

Richard was an English professor and the brother of one of the four doctors in the show. Hugh hosted the morning TV show where Dick's brother Mike did a medical segment.

Anything But Love (sitcom) ABC 1989-1992

Gay editor's assistant on the magazine staff. Character's surname changed.

Thirtysomething (drama) ABC 1987-1991

Occasional characters. Any show about yuppies needs a guppie or two. Russell was a painter. Peter was an art designer working at the advertising company central to the main characters, and had a brief affair with Russell. By New Years of the last season of the show, it looked like Russell and Peter were getting back together again.

The Kids In the Hall (sketch comedy) CBC 1989-1995

Among a wide range of comedy sketches on this show was the recurring role of Buddy, who pontificates from his bar stool on the differences or the parallels between gay and straight society, or about the ignorance of straights, or the tribulations of gay life. Another recurring sketch took place on the steps of a coffee house. Shona, a lesbian, appeared in the "Humanoids for humanism" sketches, as well as others.

CodCo (sketch comedy) CBC 1990?-1993

Recurring "Queen's Counsellors" sketch about two queeny Newfoundland lawyers.

L.A. Law (lawyer drama) NBC 1986-1994

Lawyers C.J. Lamb and Abby Perkins (Michele Greene) shared a kiss in the parking lot that many interpreted as a lesbian advance. NBC seemed determined to explain that it wasn't. Later C.J. represented her ex-lover Maggie (Elisabeth Kemp) in a child custody case. Mark Gilliam was an occasional character, another lawyer.

You Rang, M'Lord? (sitcom) BBC 1988-1993

A comedy version of Upstairs Downstairs. There is a female character who is the architypal stereotype for a lesbian. Dresses up as a male, etc.... Non-flattering stereotypes.

Bare Essence (drama) CBS 1982, NBC 1983

The best friend of a perfume company executive (Genie Francis) was a gay man who's lover was a pro football player. The characters were featured in the miniseries but weren't visible in the series until the last few episodes.

After Henry (sitcom) ITV 1988-1992 (radio 1985-1988)

Russell is friend and employer of the central character, and operates a bookstore. Sexual orientation "toned down," and practically undetectable, for television.

Don't Wait Up (sitcom) BBC 1983-1990

Gay neighbours of the central father-and-son household.

A Very Peculiar Practice (comedy/drama) BBC 1986, 1988

Low-brow sitcom set in a University health service. Dr. Rose Marie ran a men's sexuality counselling service wherein she advised her clients to avoid orgasm no matter what. Rose was bisexual and occasionally slept with Greta, a male doctor's girlfriend. There was another plotline of a doctor forming a close friendship with an athelete, who later comes out to the doctor and tells him that he loves him.

Roseanne (sitcom) ABC 1988-1997

When Roseanne worked in a shopping mall chain restaurant, Leon was her manager. Jerry was his lover. After Leon and Jerry/Steven broke up, Leon dated TV commercial director Ken (Rick Dees) in one episode. Nancy is a friend of Roseanne's and left her boorish husband to begin a relationship with cosmetologist Marla, refusing to be labelled straight or gay. Leon bought a share in the diner owned by Roseanne, her sister, and Nancy. In the fall of 1995 Leon married Scott. Roseanne's mother Bev sorted out her disinterest in men, and interest in Playboy magazine, in 1996. By spring 1997 Bev had a girlfriend Joyce.

Byker Grove (children's drama) BBC1 1989-present

Byker Grove follows the lives and relationships of a group of young people who are members of a youth club. [IMDb]

In Living Color (sketch comedy) FOX 1990-1994

Recurring "Men on Films" sketch. Campy stereotypes done for laughs.

Cop Rock (musical/drama) ABC 1990

Ray Rodbart was the personal secretary to the mayor. He was a minor regular, appearing in virtually every episode. His homosexuality was only discussed in one episode.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (drama miniseries) BBC 1990

Three part drama about Jess, a lesbian growing up in an evangelical christian environment. Jess' relationship with Melanie is ended when the church discovers their liason and Melanie repents. Jess then becomes involved with Katy (Tania Rodrigues). Lesbian character Miss Dewsbury (Celia Imrie) tries to help Jess through her ordeal.


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: Monday, 17-Nov-2014 16:46:16 CST, Networks: Friday, 16-Feb-2007 14:01:32 CST, Show Index: Monday, 17-Nov-2014 16:46:19 CST.