Gay Iconography: Is Roseanne An Icon?


Leon Comes Out: There are still a lot of folks in 2013 who wouldn’t be comfortable coming out to a poker table full of guy’s guys smoking cigars and drinking beer. Leon hardly blinks in this 1991 episode as he matter of factly tells the guys he’s gay.

Nancy’s News: Having previously been married to Arnie (Tom Arnold), Nancy’s coming out shocked her friends Roseanne and Jackie, but it made her character so much more interesting. 


Here Come the Grooms: When Roseanne plans Leon’s wedding to his partner Scott, she throws the most over-the-top, campy party. In a way, this sequence confronts the show’s own at times stereotypical portrayal of gay characters.

The Kiss: Perhaps the most controversial scene of the show’s history, guest star Mariel Hemingway plants one on a shocked Roseanne at gay bar. Laughably tame by today’s standards, the kiss heard ’round the world drummed up so much controversy, many wondered if it was a ratings ploy all along.

Bev’s Big News: More shocking than Nancy or Leon’s coming out was that of Roseanne and Jackie’s mom, Bev. 

Roseanne may always be a polarizing figure, but the characters she introduced on her show exposed huge audiences to LGBT men and women. Do you think Roseanne showcased positive portrayals, or were they too stereotypical and controversy-courting? Tell us why you think Roseanne is (or isn’t) a gay icon in the comments.