When it comes to LGBTQ representation on both the big and small screen, we’ve come a long way. Despite the fact that visibility remains an uphill battle, over the years, we’ve seen characters who have become icons of what it means to see and embrace your truest self.
They have guided countless among us to follow suit, and seeing their lives and knowing their stories — whether fictional or not — is not just entertainment, it’s a form of heroism, one that should never go under-appreciated. They are a constant reminder that representation matters. Here, some of the most epic, iconic LGBTQ characters thus far.
1. Maura, Transparent
The award-winning show chronicles a character who comes out and transitions mid-life.
2. Willow Rosenberg, Buffy The Vampire Slayer
As the first lesbian character to have sex on primetime TV, we’re going to go ahead and say that Willow was one of the most epic roles of the decade.
3. Spencer Carlin, South of Nowhere
South of Nowhere is one of the more classic shows of the mid 2000s, and Spencer was one of the first roles that portrayed high school lesbian romance.
4. Will Horton, Days of Our Lives
On a show that doesn’t shy away from outlandish plot lines, Will’s coming out was met with complete respect and dignity, which was both empowering and refreshing.
5. Ellen Morgan, Ellen
Before she was one of the most famous talk show hosts of all time, Ellen DeGeneres played her own title character on the show Ellen. Her coming out episode is widely considered one of the most monumental moments in LGBTQ TV history.