1. Kurt Hummel, Glee
Actor: Chris Colfer
Previous Rank: 7
Speaking of the K portion of Klaine (Doesn’t he deserve more than one letter in that mash-up name? Injustice), your winner and undisputed world champion of gay TV characters is none other than Kurt Hummel, the plucky young sprite who stylishly paraded his way into legend and our hearts when he entered that glee rehearsal room over four years ago. What can we say? There is no character quite like Kurt.
The notion of young gay characters on television is still in its fetal stages, though the Glee universe has injected a growth hormone into that process, which is why Kurt has been such a remarkable presence on the television scene. He is fully realized in a way that young gay characters just haven’t been before. He is not simply a statement or storyline or supporting character used to build up the diversity of the gang. He is a person, as outspoken and self-assured as he is confused and fragile, realistically stereotypical without being a cartoon.
Through his first few seasons, Kurt endured many of the expected dramatic travails of the gay high school character, including the emotional coming out and an entire season of bullying, but through that he never became the sad, isolated tragedy he might have become. His enduring brightness, coupled with the openness and genuine warmth Chris Colfer brings to the character, has established Kurt as a symbol of triumph over difficult circumstances for many young gay people. He emerged on the other side, still caring, still optimistic, still funny.
And that’s really why he tops this list. We have watched him grow up and make mistakes and endure, which has cultivated a love, ownership, and protectiveness over him. He’s our Kurt. –SB