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10 LGBT TV Moments From 2013

  Downtonjimmytom

When it comes to LGBT characters on television, 2013 was the best of times and the worst of times. The first half of the year was part of the record-setting 2012-2013 television season in terms of LGBT representation on television. However, it also saw the end of many shows featuring LGBT characters, including The New NormalSmashSouthland, and Happy Endings

Despite these losses, LGBT characters on television continued to become more multi-dimensional and better reflect the lives of LGBT people in 2013. For example, in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to strike down DOMA and rule that Prop. 8 proponents have no standing, there were many television weddings and proposals. There was also a small uptick in transgender representation, including characters on the critically lauded Orange Is the New Black and Glee.

Relive 10 of our favorite LGBT moments on television this year and share yours in the comments, AFTER THE JUMP ...

 

—  Having struggled after Blaine's cheating last season, Klaine shippers had their prayers answered when TV's most beloved teens got engaged in an over-the-top Beatles number. Of course, this is Glee, so a lot could still happen before the happy couple makes it down the aisle.

 

—  Speaking of engagements, after some pressure from the ACLU, television's more prominent couple, Mitch and Cam, popped the question on Modern Family in typically sweet fashion.

—  It doesn't take much to get Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess to clutch her pearls, so we're sure she'd need the smelling salts to recover from Thomas the footman (Rob James-Collier)'s advances on his straight co-worker, Jimmy (photo above).

—  We've already written at length about Laverne Cox's incredible, ground-breaking performance on Orange Is the New Black, but truly the entire ensemble is redefining how we portray women of various ages, races, orientations and sizes on TV. If we had to choose just one moment from the Netflix series' stellar first season it would be when Sophia's wife helps her choose an appropriate dress early in her transition. It was one of many scenes where Sophia's humanity and gentleness illuminated the screen.

 

—  Viewers spent weeks wondering just what was up with Bob Benson (James Wolk) on Mad Men. Was he a spy from a rival company? Don Draper's son from the future? Nope. With the knee-graze-heard-round-the-world, viewers learned he was a Dick Whitman-style fraud with a big ol' crush on Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser).

—  Like most Ryan Murphy projects, The New Normal was far from perfect. It could get a little too saccharine and often tackled complex issues with fairly broad strokes. And, though we'll always hold Shania (Bebe Wood) dressed as Little Edie or reading schoolgirls to filth close to our hearts, the show's take on the Boy Scouts' ban on gays may have been its strongest episode during its first and only season.

 

—  Who would've though J. Lo, star of Gigli, would be the one to usher in one of the most interesting new dramas this year focusing on an interracial lesbian couple and their adopted children. ABC Family's The Fosters gave us a unique portrayal of family unlike any other on television. Stef and Lena's wedding was the first same-sex wedding on American, Engligh-language television after the DOMA and Prop 8's repeal.

 

—  No matter how Unique identifies on Glee, the character's big voice and new perspective has been a welcome addition to the aging show. Though Glee could have done better than stick Unique with the teachers' bathroom, it was nice to see the show tackle the common issue facing many transgender persons.

 

—  Love him or hate him, Sean Hayes has made a huge impact for gay characters on TV. This season he returned to primetime in Sean Saves The World as a gay single dad. The struggling sitcom may not be the most innovative thing on television, but Hayes manages to wring out the occasional laugh, like when he competed in a dance competition with his boss Max (Thomas Lennon).

—  We never would have expected to be praising Two And A Half Men for their portrayal of LGBT characters, but the introduction of Amber Tamblyn's lesbian womanizer has infused a whole new energy into the show. In addition to her surprisingly layered character, Men recently had Jon Cryer's character date a transgender woman without (too much) offensive humor. It's still not the most sophisticated material you'll find out there, but for (arguably) the most mainstream show on television to be introducing these issues at all is a step forward.

 

—  SNL's former resident goofball Andy Samberg has landed himself a show that's curiously lacking the frat humor one might expect from the man who brought us D*ck In A Box and Jizz In My Pants. Not only does his Fox cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine boast a diverse cast, but a gay police chief whose sexuality isn't the butt of the joke. His coming out in the pilot episode was a pleasant surprise. Even as a gay police captain, Andre Braugher, best known for his dramatic work, is the perfect straight man.

What were your favorite LGBT moments on TV in 2013?

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Comments

  1. I'm not sure if the attempted rape scene from Downton Abbey is a moment that should be paid attention to.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | Dec 31, 2013 4:30:59 PM


  2. If that was an attempted rape scene, the car accident in the finale was an attempted abortion.

    Posted by: Dexter | Dec 31, 2013 5:04:07 PM


  3. There were no LGBT television moments in 2013 because there is no such thing as LGBT. LGB people do not share a common identity with heterosexual transsexuals, heterosexual hermaprhodites, and heterosexual crossdressers.

    Posted by: Eddie | Dec 31, 2013 5:11:14 PM


  4. well if it wasn't for Unique you wouldn't have a T moment.

    Im with eddie. There is no such thing as LGBT. Please stop calling LGBTs. Just because we are gay doesn't mean we are anymore interested in T's than anyone one else. And we shouldn't be lumped together.

    My favorite "LEGT" moment was a couple of weeks ago on MSNBC when Chris Hedges was doing a segment on Gays and he and the activist had to say L-G-B-T like 100X and its difficult to say and annoying to hear. They had to day it REALLY, REALLY fast to get it all out and get on with their sentance. So fast it was barely intelligible. It was both painful and hilarious when they could have just said gay. But them we aren't allowed to just say gay because someone somewhere decided that gays and trannies and hermaphrodites and anyone confused about anything are somehow a united group.

    Seriously, Do blacks go to NAACP website to read about Asians? That's what I feel like here with all the trans crap.

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Dec 31, 2013 5:20:54 PM


  5. @Eddie - "LGB people do not share a common identity with heterosexual transsexuals, heterosexual hermaprhodites, and heterosexual crossdressers."

    Try telling that to the bigots who, for centuries, grouped all of us together as a common target for their hate, and who still, to this day, insist that we are all the same thing.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Dec 31, 2013 5:21:16 PM


  6. Gabe R L: rape? what kind of show did you watch? or even better, were you sober when you watched it?

    That wasn't a rape attemp by any mean

    Posted by: jjose712 | Dec 31, 2013 5:24:08 PM


  7. Alex Newell is really a great singer.
    It's curious that he outlived the winner of the Glee Project. He was supposed to be for a coupl of episodes only

    Posted by: jjose712 | Dec 31, 2013 5:34:49 PM



  8. No, the Downton Abbey scene wasn't rape, but it was definitely a Gay Creep moment. (And for the record, it's technically a 2012 event as that's when it first aired on British TV.)

    Posted by: Clive | Dec 31, 2013 5:40:45 PM


  9. Don't know how you can overlook Cyrus and James from "Scandal." Their relationship was just as loopy and dysfunctional as everybody else's on that show. Can't say I've seen a gay couple quite like that one on TV before....

    Posted by: phredd! | Dec 31, 2013 9:33:38 PM


  10. One of my favorite gay couples is the hashed together (b)romance of Derek & Stiles (Dylan O'Brien & Tyler Hoechlin) from Teen Wolf done by bloggers. I'll try to get a link.
    They're both hetero but have so many 'moments' that there was enough to make a jokingly passable clip.
    It's ongoing and part of the fun is that both actors get a kick out of it.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Dec 31, 2013 10:13:16 PM


  11. @Seriously - Oh, I agree! .. Just go to youtube and type in Sterek.

    I like these three especially:

    http://youtu.be/YuJ7Ir1ky38

    http://youtu.be/wfNySI55Ul4

    http://youtu.be/594JTYfk4XE

    Posted by: Fox | Jan 1, 2014 12:40:52 AM


  12. "Masters of Sex" (sex researchers Masters & Johnson) had one of the most affecting gay storylines of 2013 and I expect Season 2 will include more gay stories as they pursue their research. I don't understand why it's received almost no coverage on gay websites I frequent - the actors and their characters draw you in and the series delves into the largely untold story of pioneering scientists.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Jan 1, 2014 12:45:23 AM


  13. we need more gay people and ESPECIALLY same sex couples on tv!

    Posted by: Junior | Jan 1, 2014 1:32:48 AM


  14. It wasn't an attempted rape but the way DA handled the Thomas sexuality story line was, sorry to say, wishy-washy and unrealistic. At best, at very best, Thomas would have been allowed to quietly leave with a generous (in their mind) barely adequate recommendation. It would never have been discussed openly, especially by the Carson the butler and Lord Grantham. That scene in Maurice where the don says the "unspeakable vice of the Greeks" mustn't be discussed is a far more naturalistic portrayal of the mores of the time. And of course Fellowes knows better, but he doesn't give a damn. It's clear since season 1 took off that he's seen DA as a cash cow that's best dumbed down for the masses and has spent what creative energy he has left elsewhere. The way Thomas was killed off was profoundly unoriginal and uncreative...Long Island teenagers in a creative writing class could have come up with something more dramatically compelling. Shot by a jealous Lord Carlisle or whatnot. Thomas is clearly the type of chap who would have driven more like a grandma than the Dowager. I don't even know if I'll bother to watch season 4, it's a shame because I thought Season 1 had a lot of potential to become a modern classic along the lines of Brideshead Revisited (the ITV version of course) or Upstairs, Downstairs.


    Posted by: EchtKultig | Jan 1, 2014 2:35:39 AM


  15. The Glee cover of If I Were a Boy was amazing. That actor deserves way more songs on that show!

    Also, if we're mentioning gay characters on TV that get no attention from this blog, how about Will Lexington (played by Chris Carmack) on Nashville? He's an up-and-coming, closeted country star. This character is insanely watchable, one of the best things about the show.

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 1, 2014 1:49:04 PM


  16. @EchtKultig - "Thomas killed off?" .. Do you mean "Matthew?" Thomas is alive and kicking in Season 4. (His role in the Christmas special is eye-rolling, though, and that's all I'll say.) As for Matthew, I'll give 'em that one due to the actor opting to leave the show, and the point they were at in the story when he did.

    Posted by: Clive | Jan 1, 2014 3:52:54 PM


  17. Kinda disappointed, I expected the top 10 moments to all be important/iconic/memorable or inpsiring., but besides 2 or 3, these are all meh

    Posted by: Bryan | Jan 1, 2014 4:23:36 PM


  18. Sorry, I did mix up the names.
    The point is DA is not set in a alternative-reality Edwardian world, it purports to be realistic. And it does a disservice to the people who really survived that culture as gay or lesbian to suggest that, even in the magical world of Downton, everything would have been so easily brushed off and forgotten.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Jan 1, 2014 5:16:20 PM


  19. @EchtKultig - Oh, just to add, I totally agree with your take on how the whole Thomas affair was handled. Really, in terms of the narrative, it probably would have been better if it had just been kept between Thomas, Jimmy, and O'Brien - with Thomas blackmailing O'Brien to keep quiet, and Jimmy changing his mind about coming forward after Thomas saved his ass from the thugs. But having everyone in the household know that there's a 'sodomite' in the house and just go about BAU is ridiculous. ... And not to spoil anything about Season 4, but there's a shocking event that occurs, which Fellowes says they chose to do because they wanted to show the reality of how people of the era responded to it by basically not responding to it and keeping silent. But he fails to use the same "reality of the era" perspective where Thomas is concerned. Well, except for the first episode where Thomas was involved in a clandestine relationship with a Duke who was dumping him. That was the most real yet, probably.

    Posted by: Clive | Jan 1, 2014 6:01:01 PM


  20. Gregory In Seattle: Thanks.

    If people don't like the T or for that matter the B in LGBT, fine, but it's the official title now including federally proclaimed by Obama Pride month. And it rolls off the tongue because of he internal rhymes of the letter sounds. It did its job in reminding people that gay isn't just guys, which was the common mental association. Although now and in the future I think gay is being associated with everyone, like in gay marriage. So maybe the useful LGBT will fade. Anyway, get over it and get over yourselves, gay people.

    Posted by: emjayay | Jan 1, 2014 6:47:29 PM


  21. Yeah, it was questionable how grown up most of them were in Downton, but then the Earl did make a crack about prep school or whatever they call it. But he was also protecting the place from local gossips. And its interesting how the the accuser Jimmy is learning to accept Thomas after all of that. Still claims he's straight. I kind of thought he was doing an overreaction to protect himself.

    Posted by: emjayay | Jan 1, 2014 6:53:07 PM


  22. I'm not going to write another essay about W & G and Jack, but this bit and the first episode of the new Sean Hayes show were a shadow of it, cliched and seriously dated in every way other than him being a gay dad. OK,maybe I'll try another episode and see if they fixed anything.

    Posted by: emjayay | Jan 1, 2014 7:06:04 PM


  23. We really should try for GIBLTS - Gay, Indeterminate, Bi-Sexual, Lesbian, Transexual - BIG TENT PEOPLE! Ha - I said tent. Heh heh.

    Posted by: Archikvetch | Jan 1, 2014 9:54:54 PM


  24. Maybe it was more correctly a creep moment rather than an attempted rape moment, but it was still nothing to treat as a great LGBT moment. It's also amazing that the victim of the creep moment does not get any sympathy from Emjayay.

    I have also thought that Fellowes has done a lot of things with Downton Abbey that he should not have done, but did anyway, even though he knows better. One example is making Cora be half-Jewish, when in the New York high society world of the end of the 19th century, not even the most pedigreed Jews were socially admissible in gentile high-society circles. It would have made much more sense for Cora to have been English-born half-Jew, since England was already more socially progressive at that time, somewhat. Then there is the idea that the daughter of an Earl would marry a chauffeur, and it would be accpted. Then there is Cora's mother acting like there is no class system in the U.S. The list goes on.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | Jan 2, 2014 3:25:39 PM


  25. I really enjoyed Orange is the New Black but I also cringe when the main character swaps between wanting a male partner or wanting a female partner. This makes people believe all gay people CHOOSE if we want to be gay and I find it very dangerous and damaging to us. We need gay or lesbian or transgender characters who don't just have sex with anyone who offers.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Feb 24, 2014 8:31:42 PM


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