The phrase "gay icon" gets tossed around a lot, but what does that really mean? Welcome to Gay Iconography, a new feature where we present a proposed iconic figure or character and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts. Last week, we discussed Roseanne and received lots of interesting responses about her work, her legacy and her more recent controversial comments about the trans community. If you missed it, you can join that conversation here. This week's installment shifts its focus to another '90s ABC series.
Even though it only lasted one season, My So-Called Life is one of the most beloved television shows of all time. Its realistic portrayal of the teenage experience extended beyond just the ennui, awkward first loves and Manic Panic dye jobs. It also encompassed the show's deft handling of hot-button topics that were allowed to unfold over the course of several episodes and often avoided the kind of hokey happy ending that plagued "very special episodes" on other series.
Chief among the issues tackled by MSCL was the ongoing coming out process of Rickie Vasquez. The show's commitment to authentic adolescent storytelling ensured he never became just the eyeliner-adorned B.F.F. in the girls' room, nor was he only reduced to his tragic backstory. If Rickie was a proto-Kurt Hummel, he did it with just as much style, but more heart and much less support. Not to mention the significance of Rickie being a queer person of color on primetime network TV played by an out actor (Wilson Cruz) in 1994.
Revisit some key Rickie moments from the show, and share your thoughts, AFTER THE JUMP …