National Coming Out Day: The Best of Daytime Soap Operas

On October 11, 1987, half a million people participated in the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It was the second such demonstration in our nation’s capital and resulted in the founding of a number of LGBT organizations, including the National Latino/a Gay & Lesbian Organization (LLEGĂ“) and AT&T’s LGBT employee group, LEAGUE.

The momentum continued four months after this extraordinary march as more than 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists from around the country gathered in Manassas, Va., about 25 miles outside Washington, D.C. Recognizing that the LGBT community often reacted defensively to anti-gay actions, they came up with the idea of a national day to celebrate coming out and chose the anniversary of that second march on Washington to mark it.

The originators of the idea were Rob Eichberg, a founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O'Leary, then head of National Gay Rights Advocates. From this idea the National Coming Out Day was born.

To this day National Coming Out Day continues to promote a safe world for LGBT individuals to live truthfully and openly.

In 1983 ALL MY CHILDREN's Lynn Carson became the first openly gay character in daytime soap opera history.

On August 18 & 19, 1988, AS THE WORLD TURNS character Hank Elliot became the first male on daytime soaps to officially come out, telling Iva Snyder.

Here are four of the most memorable coming out stories in daytime soap opera history.

Billy Douglas (Ryan Phillippe) - ONE LIFE TO LIVE - June 26, 1992

Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel) - ALL MY CHILDREN - December 22 & 27, 2000

Luke Snyder Van Hansis) - AS THE WORLD TURNS - May 9, 2006

Will Horton (Chandler Massey) - DAYS OF OUR LIVES - April 4, 2012 (Marlena) and May 17, 2012 (Sami & Lucas)

Which daytime coming out story was your favorite?

For an indie soap take on coming out, check out Rose's (Kate Conway) big moment in OUT WITH DAD below:


  1. At the time, I liked Luke Snyder's coming out on ATWT because I think the acting was superb but in retrospect, that overall s/l kinda sucked and was rushed.

    I think OLTL's Billy Douglas' coming out was the best written story and had impact across the canvas but two major problems: 1.) Billy Douglas was a poster boy and not a well-rounded character and 2.) I love how the s/l explored homophobia but not sure if connecting a character's coming out as gay to AIDS was the best choice when the s/l could have been two separate, equally-important s/ls.

    After reviewing the clips above, I think the best single scene is Bianca's coming out to Erica on AMC. Riegel and Lucci knock those scenes out of the park and Bianca's coming out was probably the most impacting of all, given that she was the daughter of Erica Kane, the most heterosexual character in ever! LOL.

  2. The Will story is now my favorite.

  3. How far we have come!

    I remember it being risque in 1985 on Santa Barbara when the character of Channing Capwell Jr, who had been dead for five years when the show debuted in 1984, was revealed to have had a gay lover, Lindsey Smith. The Lindsey character made a handful of appearances, but they never did anything with the character other than use him to show how homophobic CC Capwell was.