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10 LGBTQ+ TV Characters Actually Played By LGBTQ+ Actors

CBR logo CBR 8/6/2022 Grace Magee
© Provided by CBR

The LGBTQ+ community has been steadily climbing in visibility, which means that there are more queer characters on TV. It's fantastic to see more opportunities for trans and queer actors to play roles to which they can bring personal experience. Casting in this fashion allows the characters to be much more authentic and meaningful.

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Thanks to a lack of representation overall, it's incredibly important that queer and trans characters are played by members of the LGBTQ+ community. Not all TV shows observe this in their casting processes, so each and every instance is worth celebrating.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson Had A Gay Wedding On Modern Family

Modern Family aired its last episode in 2020 after 11 seasons on ABC. It is one of the first shows to have a gay character as part of the main cast. Jesse Tyler Ferguson plays Mitchell Pritchett alongside Eric Stonestreet, who plays his partner Cameron. Throughout the course of Modern Family, Mitchell and Cameron get married and become dads through adoption.

Ferguson has relayed his joy about the steps Modern Family has taken to show inclusivity and gay people as a regular, normal occurrence. It shows kids and viewers that gay people do get married and have families, and it's not out of the ordinary.

Orphan Black Doesn't Focus On Jordan Gavaris's Queerness

In the sci-fi show Orphan Black, Jordan Gavaris plays Sarah's brother, Felix Dawkins, who is gay. He is quite flamboyant, but his sexuality isn't played for laughs. His camp serves as comedic relief, and he also has a no-nonsense attitude that balances out other characters.

Gavaris wasn't out at the time of the show's release. He says he never came out simply because no one had really ever asked, and announcing one's queerness shouldn't be a have-to. He came out as gay during an interview with Vulture in 2017.

Samira Wiley Portrayed Lesbian Characters In Orange Is The New Black And The Handmaid's Tale

Orange is the New Black is about the happenings at an all-female prison. Many of the characters are lesbians, including Samira Wiley's character Poussey. Samira Wiley wasn't out when she began the show, but she says that her character helped her to accept herself and be more comfortable with her sexuality.

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Samira Wiley speaks frequently on the importance of representation and inclusivity. She also plays Moira, June's best friend, on Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale. The character is a member of the resistance against Gilead, and is also a lesbian. Wiley won an Emmy for her performance Moira and has been nominated for three more.

Stephanie Beatriz Is Bisexual, Just Like Her Character In Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Stephanie Beatriz identifies as bisexual, and she used her real-life experiences to help come up with a storyline for her character's coming out story in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Rosa Diaz has had many female partners throughout the show after the actor came out herself on social media. While Beatriz herself is married to a man, that does not mean she is any less bisexual than she was before.

Beatriz has expressed her gratefulness to Brooklyn Nine-Nine for taking the risk to introduce Rosa as queer. Rosa Diaz is a fierce personality, and is tough on her coworkers, so her revealing her sexuality to her peers is a very vulnerable scene. It gets even more emotional when she comes out to her parents in the following episode.

Nicole Maines Is The First Trans Superhero On TV

Nia Nal, also known as Dreamer on The CW's Supergirl is the first trans superhero to be featured in live action TV. Nicole Maines signed on the play the character in 2018, and she also appeared in DC: Legends of Tomorrow as the same character. Supergirl's producers described Nal's character as a "soulful young transgender woman."

Maines has said that it makes sense for there to be a trans superhero "for trans kids to look up to," because she didn't get to have that as a kid. She is a transgender activist, and before her acting career, she fought for her right to use the women's restroom in the Doe v Regional School Unit 26 court case in 2013.

Sarah Paulson Has Starred In Two American Horror Story Seasons As A Lesbian Character

Sarah Paulson has been nominated for four Emmys for her work on various seasons of American Horror Story. When Paulson first appeared on the show during its second season, AHS: Asylum, she played Lana Winters, a journalist visiting an asylum to do a story. She is later institutionalized for being a lesbian.

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Paulson also plays half of a lesbian couple in American Horror Story: Cult, the show's seventh season. Her character is Ally Richards-Mayfair who is married to Ivy, played by Allison Pill. Paulson once said in an interview with WM Magazine that there's a lot of hate in the world, but that "a lot of good can come from quote-unquote normalizing something for people who don't see it as normal."

Ian Alexander Made History With The OA

In 2016, Ian Alexander made their television debut as Buck Vu in the Netflix original show The OA. They were only 15 years old when they got the role and is the first Asian-American trans actor on TV. Alexander identifies as nonbinary and uses they/he pronouns. Alexander is a member of the new generation that is changing what it means to be queer.

The OA was very determined to find an Asian transgender actor for the role of Buck, which is commendable, and audiences are glad they did. Alexander said they love Buck because he isn't "reduced to his trans-ness" and is a well-rounded regular for the series.

Sara Ramirez Is A Fan-Favorite On Grey's Anatomy

Sara Ramirez and her Grey's Anatomy character Calliope Torres are both bisexual. The actor herself didn't come out publicly until 2016, but her character has been on the show since 2006. She was in over 200 episodes throughout 11 seasons. Callie Torres is the longest-running LGBTQ+ character in the history of television.

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In the show, Calliope is in a relationship with Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw), and the two immediately became fan favorites. They are an iconic couple, and critics have praised them. It's especially important to Ramirez because so much about Torres intersects with her own life.

Dominique Jackson Is Very Similar To Her Character On Pose

Dominique Jackson plays the lead role in the show Pose, a show about trans people in New York's Ballroom culture. Her character, the legendary Elektra Abundance, makes the decision to have gender-affirming surgery, something that Jackson experienced in her personal life. It's an incredible thing to discuss on television because it's a subject many people misunderstand.

Jackson has talked extensively about her journey, and just how personal it is. Pose is a celebration of the queer, trans, drag, and Black communities. Nearly the entire cast is queer people of color. It reminds audiences that Pride is 365 days a year, sex work is real work, and Black trans lives matter.

Asia Kate Dillon Portrays A Non-Binary Character On Billions

Asia Kate Dillon plays Taylor Mason, the financial mastermind CEO on the show Billions on Showtime. They joined the show in 2019 and made history as the first non-binary actor to play a non-binary character on television. It's incredible to have this kind of representation present on TV since a lot of people still don't know what being non-binary means.

In an interview, Dillon stated that they would not have taken the role if the show only focused on the character's gender identity. They said that "that representation is old hat, frankly, and not interesting."NEXT: Obscure LGBTQ Films That Need to Be Seen


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