LGBTQIA+ representation on television is at an all-time high, but many of us still remember when queer characters were little more than “very special episode” fodder. Things began to change, slowly but surely, in the mid-‘90s and early 2000s when a handful of trailblazers made their mark on the television landscape—more than a punchline, more than a cameo, these were the first LGBTQ+ regular and/or recurring roles on TV. Often they were positioned as the token gay character on an otherwise “straight” show, and, in retrospect, the shows may not have always handled their storylines gracefully, but they made a difference to the queer audiences watching at home.
This retrospective Outfest panel will bring together a handful of actors who bravely stepped into these early queer roles from across networks and genres to discuss their experiences, the triumphs and the challenges, and highlight how much the industry has changed for the better.
Featured Talent: Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life), Jane Sibbett (Friends). Moderated by Cameron Scheetz.