Monday, July 7, 2008

History of LGBT Television Characters in Soap Operas

David A. Wyatt has compiled a very comprehensive list of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered television characters. To be listed a character should have "appeared in at least three episodes and be explicitly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered."

MarkH has compiled a good list of the soap characters which I am going to include below along with a few additions. The first date is the date they debuted or were revealed to be gay.

The Young and the Restless, Katherine Chancellor
The Young and the Restless, Joanne Curtis

Y&R had Katherine Chancellor, lonely after the death of her beloved Phillip, start to develop romantic feelings for her friend and roommate Joanne Curtis.

Days of Our Lives, Sharon Duvall

In 1977 the unhappily married Sharon Duval (Sally Stark) admitted to her dear friend Julie Williams that she was bisexual and was in love with her. The story line was quickly wrapped up when problems broke out backstage between head writer Pat Falken Smith and the NBC top brass.

All My Children, Lynn Carson

After Devon McFadden discovered Lynn was a lesbian, she convinced herself that a relationship with a woman was the answer to her problems. Lynn wisely told her that you don't just choose to become a lesbian because your affairs with men don't work out. After about 2 or 3 months, Lynn decided to get on with her life and moved away from Pine Valley.

Santa Barbara, Channing Capwell, Jr
Santa Barbara, Lindsay Smith

This soap opera opened its first episode with the release from prison of the wrongly convicted murderer of Channing Capwell Jr. In the course of finding the real killer, it was discovered that Channing's past included affairs with his father's mistress and someone named Lindsay Smith. More investigation turned up that Lindsay was another man. Some of this story was played out in flashback wherein Channing and Lindsay appeared.

As The World Turns, Hank Elliot

Hank was a dress designer, who had come to town to find occupation away from his HIV+ lover Charles. Various characters reacted differently to Hank's coming out to them.

One Life to Live, Billy Douglas
One Life to Live, Jonathan Michaelson
One Life to Live, Rick Mitchell

Billy Douglas moved into Llanview in the summer of 1992, a 17 year old highschool senior. Billy's struggle to come out to himself and his homophobic parents, in the midst of a town bitterly divided over a rumour that the local minister might be gay, occupied a substantial share of OLTL air time over the summer of 1992. Jonathan, lover of the minister's late brother, showed up to ask for help making a quilt panel. Billy met Rick Mitchell carolling on Christmas eve 1992 and left for Yale the next summer.

General Hospital, John Hanley

Beginning in 1994 the character of John Hanley was a recurring character, each year co-chairing the annual AIDS Ball charity fundraiser. The character and the actor were both HIV-positive, and when actor Lee Mathis died in early 1996, John Hanley's [off screen] death was mourned on the show.

All My Children, Michael Delaney
All My Children, Rudy

In 1995 producers introduced a full-time (as opposed to short-term) gay character. Michael's sexual orientation was revealed several months after his addition to the cast. In the ensuing controversy about a gay teacher in the classroom, `Mr. D.' developed a platonic friendship with an employee of the local TV station. Kevin, one of Mike's students and the leading homophobe's younger brother, came out.

Guiding Light, Wyatt Sanders

Wyatt, a recurring character, was an HIV counselor and appeared in several episodes between 1995 and 1997.

All My Children, Kevin Sheffield
All My Children, Brad Phillips

By September 1996 Mike and Brad had started dating, and moved in together in January 1997. Actor Chris Bruno was contracted for only occasional appearances (a few times per year) after April 1997. During the summer of 1997 Kevin endured "reparative therapy" by a conversion therapist sponsored by his homophobic parents.

The City, Azure C.

All My Children, Rick

General Hospital, Ted Murty

Ted Murty [occasional from 1997] was erroneously suspected in the sexual assault of a female student.

One Life to Live, Wendie Mercury

Passions, Simone Russell

All My Children, Bianca Montgomery
All My Children, Rain Wilkins
All My Children, Sarah Livingston

Following treatment for Anorexia nervosa, teenage Bianca returns home in 2000, stunning her mother, Erica, by confessing that she is in a lesbian relationship with a girl named Sarah.

All My Children, Olga Sosnovska
All My Children, Maggie Stone

The Bold and the Beautiful, Sergei

As The World Turns, Luke Synder

A character since his birth, in the spring of 2006 teenager Luke came out, to varied reactions from his family and friends. Luke's first crush was his straight best friend Kevin Davis (Karl Girolamo).

General Hospital, Lucas Jones
A character since his birth, during the winter of 2005/6 college student Lucas grew to realize he was harboring a secret sure to distress his family situation.

One Life To Live, Daniel Colson
One Life to Live, Mark

All My Children, Zarf/Zoe Luper

Erica Kane's lesbian daughter Bianca Montgomery returned full time to the program from fall 2006 to April 2007 (without girlfriend Maggie). In what was perhaps one of the most convoluted attempts to avoid portraying a same-sex romance, AMC introduced Zarf, a male-to-female transsexual (played by a male actor) to provide Bianca a love interest.

General Hospital, Guy Richardson

Guy and Lucas Jones began dating in May, 2006, and they both promptly disappeared from view.

Passions, Chad Harris-Crane
Passions, Vincent Clarkson-Crane

Somewhat unconventional American daytime drama, mixing complex, interrelated families with a 300-year-old supernatural meddler. Simone is daytime's first African-American lesbian. In early 2007 is was revealed that Chad was having an affair with another man. Chad's lover Vincent would go to any lengths to keep the affair secret. Chad's heterosexuality was eventually rescued when it was revealed that Vincent was a hermaphrodite and Chad was sleeping only with Vincent's female anatomy. Vincent turned out to be a serial killer and (using his male parts) a rapist.

As The World Turns, Noah Mayer

Noah's speedy connection with Maddie Coleman told Luke Snyder his heart was heading down the wrong path again. Soapy plots have included a Noah's crazed, homophobic father, Luke's tenure paralized in a wheelchair, and Noah's green-card-sham marriage to Ameera, a wayward Iraqi. Early story characterized by well-written plot developments separated by weeks or months of the character being sidelined by the writers. A vocal campaign by Luke & Noah fans seemed to break down story barriers inside the production company circa May 2008.

As The World Turns, Reg Addington
As The World Turns, Tony

In February 2008, the characters of Reg and Tony were introduced as fellow gay Oakdale U students.


  1. Thanks for the updates. By the way, I have the actors' names, I think, for Reg and Tony from ATWT:

    Reg Addington, 2008-present (Mark Sullivan)
    Tony, 2008-present (Tom Baran)

    I don't think the Tony character has a last name yet.

  2. Very interesting. He did leave off a few LGBT characters including Passions' Rae (who was Simone's girlfriend) and Norma and Edna (who are apparently lovers).

  3. Katherine Chancellor is not bisexual or gay, nor has she ever experiment to my knowledge.

    When they first introduced Katherine she was on her 2nd marriage and had sex with at least two other men by that point.

    PS: Why isn't Bianca's story at least have a sentence or two more about her?