Whether a panicked Ellen DeGeneres is coming out to Laura Dern at the airport, or an animated rat is swapping vows with his aardvark boyfriend, TV continues to play an undeniable role in the increased visibility of the LGBT community. So as Pride Month rolls on, TVLine is hitting the rewind button, looking back at just a few of the most memorable milestones involving iconic lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender TV characters.
For this list, we pulled from every shade of the TV rainbow — including reality shows like The Real World, teen dramas like Dawson’s Creek and Degrassi: The Next Generation, and even beloved children’s programming like Arthur. (For the record, unlike the folks running Alabama Public Television, we couldn’t be happier for Nigel and Patrick Ratburn.)
To be clear, this isn’t exclusively a list of “firsts,” or even “bests,” but rather a collection of episodes that stuck with us over the years. And while most examples are celebratory, others highlight the adversity that continues to plague the LGBT community, showing how one person’s resilience and strength can serve as an inspirational example for millions.
(And while you’re at it, click here to check out our slightly more specific look at LGBT representation in animation.)
Browse our gallery of LGBT-centric episodes — you can click here for direct access — then drop a comment with your own additions to our list below.