How soap operas pioneered the depiction of LGBTQ characters
When it comes time to celebrate how far TV has come with its depiction of LGBTQ characters, people always think of the coming out episode on Ellen and shows like Will & Grace and Pose — not Ryan Phillippe portraying the first openly gay teen on One Life to Live, or the first lesbian marriage that took place on All My Children. For a genre that's been around since the Truman Administration, soaps don't always get the credit they deserve for helping to pioneer gay story lines.
"Anything that's been around for a very long time is weighed down with preconceived notions and stereotypes," General Hospital executive producer Frank Valentini tells EW. "People think everybody comes back from the dead on soaps, or how there's always an evil twin. People make fun of us."
Some also assume that daytime audiences aren't nearly as woke as their primetime counterparts, so soaps would never dare to depict same-sex couples. Think again! Here, we look back at some of daytime's groundbreaking LGBTQ characters — and the battles that were sometimes waged in order to tell authentic and relevant stories.