The Golden Girls’ Gay Journey – From Coming out to Marriage Equality

“Oh look, I can accept the fact that he’s
gay, but why does he have to slip a ring on this guy’s finger so the whole world will
know?” Maybe you’ve seen this episode of the Golden
Girls that explained marriage equality to America, over two decades before it was legalized. The show did something amazing here — not
only did it teach America how to be a friend to gay people, it also introduced millions
of viewers to topics like coming out and gay marriage, while also slipping in a message
of queer empowerment. All aboard! Welcome to Matt Baume’s culture cruise, where
we take a tour of queer milestones in movies, in TV, in games, and more. On this voyage, we’re taking a look at the
time Blanche’s gay brother taught the Golden Girls — and America — about coming out and
getting married. The cruise is made possible through the support
of folks like Gary Cannon who pledge a dollar or more a month on Patreon — click the link
in the description or visit to help support the show. The Golden Girls’ adventure in homosexuality
starts with the 1988 episode Scared Straight. Blanche’s brother Clayton is coming to visit,
and he’s like her in every way — including some that she doesn’t quite know about yet. When the episode starts, they’re preparing
to welcome Clayton to the house, and Rose is eager to put out the welcome mat. “We won’t have a welcome mat.” “What about the one Dorothy says is at the
foot of your bed?” Clayton is very suave and very southern and
very gay, but nobody knows that yet, because he’s scared to come out. For now, Blanche just wants to set him up
on dates. “Oh, well I’ve done a little matchmaking.” “Blanche, not again.” “Yes, again!” And off Clayton goes to the park with a beard
named Lois. Blanche stays behind to offer Dorothy some
romance tips that are … not great? “Did you know that if you blow on the tip
of a man’s earlobe it can drive him absolutely crazy?” As a man with an earlobe I can confirm that
this would, in fact, drive me crazy, in that I would be like “what are you doing?” Anyway, she goes on to demonstrate this strange
heterosexual mating ritual and Sophia catches them. Sophia’s b-plot this week is that she’s convinced
she’s about to die, but before she goes she’s got a little casual homophobia for the girls: “I’m going to be dead in 24 hours, couldn’t
you stay in the closet for one more day?” Remember that line, because family rejection
of queer people is going to come up again very very soon. It’s not a very nice joke, but we know Sophia
doesn’t mean it because in an episode about Dorothy’s lesbian friend, two seasons earlier,
she said this: “If one of my kids was gay, I wouldn’t love
him one bit less. I would wish him all the happiness in the
world. “That’s because you’re the greatest mother
in the world and I love you.” “Fine. Now keep your fat mouth shut so I can get
some sleep.” I have another video about that episode — you
can find it on my YouTube channel. The Golden Girls has always been a great show
for LGBT characters — with the possible exception of how their gay butler vanished after the
pilot — and we’re about to see Blanche learn an important lesson about how to treat queer
family. But first, we fade to the park, where Clayton’s
ditched his date and runs into Rose. They sit for a moment and admire the scenery,
and that’s when Rose notices that Clayton’s admiring one particular part of the scenery
more than others. “That’s a man and you’re a man! You’re both men!” This is my favorite trope of very-special-gay
episodes: straight people who JUST DON’T GET IT until it’s blindingly obvious. Rose was here two seasons ago in the lesbian
episode: “I’m quite fond of you.” “I’m fond of you too.” So she catches on a lot faster this time. “Clayton, you’re that thing everyone said
Argle Arson’s nephew was because he wore paisley clogs and gave out puff pastry at Halloween.” And Clayton comes clean: “I’m gay, Rose.” He’s surprisingly forthcoming with her, given
the times: this aired in 1988, a very dark point in the HIV epidemic. There was tremendous stigma around being gay,
since it was closely associated with a virus that was killing thousands of people. The was a ton of misinformation and ignorance
— a lot of Americans thought that they could get a deadly disease just by being near gay
people. Various states were thinking about forcibly
quarantining anyone who tested positive. And violence against gay people was widespread:
earlier that year, a man in Texas was convicted of murdering two gay men, but the judge reduced
his sentence because his victims were gay. So in that climate, it’s very brave of Clayton
to come out to Rose. But he can’t quite muster the courage do to
the same with Blanche. “Have you tried telling her? Every time I see her, and I always chicken
out.” In 1988, if you came out to your family, they
might refuse to ever talk to you again. In fact, for all the progress we’ve made in
the last 30 years, that’s still the case for a lot of people. Family rejection has always been a huge risk
when coming out, and when this episode aired there was even more fear and ignorance and
violence than there is today. But Rose believes in the goodness of her friend: “I know Blanche. I mean she’d be upset but not for long. And just think how it would help you two in
the long run.” It takes a few attempts for Clayton to really
come out… “Well I ran into Rose in the park and — we
slept together last night.” Okay, try again. “I’m gay, Blanche.” Congratulations, Clayton, you did it! And your timing is perfect: this episode aired
just a few weeks after the very first National Coming Out Day. In 1988, coming out was literally a matter
of life and death. There was widespread stigma and violence against
LGBT people, and it was vital to show that LGBT people were everywhere, were part of
everyone’s family, and weren’t a threat. Coming Out Day was a brand new idea when this
episode aired, an organized effort to make queer people visible like they never had been
before. It was a powerful way to prove that queer
people are a part of everyone’s family, and to show Americans that anti-LGBT attitudes
hurt people they care about. It’s huge that this conversation is happening
on a show watched by millions of people. The episode’s doing double duty: it’s letting
countless gay people know they’re not alone, and it’s introducing millions of straight
people to the very concept of coming out — something that many would never otherwise think about. And it’s all happening thanks to the encouragement
of Rose, who I just have to point out puts on full makeup and jewelry to sit at home
and read a cat magazine to herself. If this lady can be compassionate towards
gays, hey America, maybe you could be too. Anyway, Blanche is stunned by the news about
her brother. “I just feel like I don’t know you anymore.” But soon enough they understand each other: “You used to be just like me.” “What, great looking?” “Yes.” “Charming?” “yes.” “Irresistible to men?” “My God Clayton, you are me.” Clayton was right that things might change
between them. But it never occurred to him that they might
change for the better. That they might understand each other in a
way they’d been missing out on for years. “I spent a long time lying to myself. It felt a lot better when I stopped. It feels better being honest with you too.” Blanche has a lot of traditional southern
values, and that includes a conservatism when it comes to sex — which is a bit rich considering
how much of it SHE has. But there’s another value at work here: love
for her family. Wanting to protect her brother. “What can I bring you sweetheart?” “Don’t you dare talk to him like that. Now you get out of here.” So now Blanche is getting used to having a
gay brother. But at the very end of the episode, there
are a few hints that she still has a ways to go. The girls are choosing a restaurant, and… “Let’s got to Jose’s. We always go there to celebrate.” “The food there is great.” “Yeah and they make all the waiters wear these
really skintight bullfighter’s pants. “Really? “Let’s go to emilio’s.” Okay, so Blanche doesn’t want to think about
her brother staring at men in tight pants over dinner. That’s fair. But she’s going to have to get used to the
idea of her brother having a sex life eventually. In fact, she has exactly two years, because
that’s when we get the season 6 episode Sister of the Bride. Clayton has learned to be honest about who
he is, and to overcome his fear of rejection. Now it’s Blanche’s turn to do the same. In the two years since Clayton came out, she
seems to have slid back into denial. “Dorothy, I think that gay thing was just
a phase he was going through.” In fact, when he arrives for a visit this
time, something new has been added: “This is Doug. He’s my friend. My very special friend.” “Well any friend of Clay’s is a friend of
…” Blanche is deeply afraid of people finding
out about Clayton and his partner, Doug. “Are you crazy, what will the neighbors think
if they see two men in my bedroom?” “They’ll think it’s Tuesday.” And once again, Rose is, oddly, the voice
of reason: “Blanche I don’t understand you. You can’t very well say you’ve accepted clayton
unless you accept the fact that he dates.” “Rose is right. And besides Blanche, in this day and age,
you should be thrilled that he’s in a monogamous relationship.” But Blanche just can’t get used to the idea: “Oh, what are people going to say?” While Blanche spent the last two years convincing
herself that Doug isn’t gay, he’s clearly done a lot of growing. Honestly it seems like his relationship is
pretty great. “Blanche we don’t have to worry what the world
thinks of our relationship. It doesn’t matter because we’re there for
each other. I’d do anything for Doug, and he’d bend over
backwards for me.” I know that bending over backward’s supposed
to be sexual but I just can’t wrap my head around how it would actually work in the bedroom. Anyway, Clayton has one more surprise for
Blanche — and listen to how the audience bursts into laughter at the news: “We’re getting married.” Rose’s reaction is more multifaceted. “Oh. Oh! Oh?” This aired in 1991, and at the time, “oh. Oh! Oh?” is how a lot of Americans felt about
legal recognition for same-sex relationships. Just a few weeks before this episode aired,
three couples in Hawaii filed a lawsuit in an attempt to be married and the country freaked
out. That lawsuit was the start of the modern marriage
equality strategy that eventually won, over a decade later. There had been prior lawsuits, but the Hawaii
case in 1991 was taken seriously like none before. And for a while it looked like we might actually
get marriage by the mid ’90s — and then the Defense of Marriage Act happened in 1996,
which banned marriage recognition, and was only overturned in 2013. Just like the previous Clayton episode prompted
millions of Americans to think about coming out, this episode prompted millions to think
about why gay people might want to get married. It would be another two and a half decades
before America got nationwide marriage equality, but the early ’90s were when the idea gained
serious consideration. And once again, a goofy sitcom about charming
little old ladies was out in front of the issue. Americans were overwhelmingly opposed to marriage
equality when this episode aired. And Blanche was among them. “I cannot believe what I just heard. I refuse to have any part of this!” Blanche is terrified of what people will say,
and later at a banquet she panics when someone almost finds out about her brother. “I’m Clayton, Blanche’s brother. And this is Doug, he’s my –” “Fire! Fire! Everybody out!” It wasn’t long ago that Clayton was in a similar
position — going to great lengths to hide who he was for fear of rejection. But in the two years between these episodes,
he’s moved past that. It hurts that Blanche hasn’t kept up: “What did you mean when you told me you could
accept me being gay? Did you mean it was okay as long as I was
celibate? Okay as long as I don’t hall in love? Doug is a part of the family now, my family,
and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to be a part of my family.” That’s a tough position — either accept me
or get out of my life — but it’s the right one to take. And once again, the show’s slipping in a message
of queer empowerment, telling all the Claytons watching: You’re in control; stand your ground;
take pride in whom you love and don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed. If your family can’t accept you, they doesn’t
deserve to have you in their lives. So now we come to the famous scene, where
Sophia completely changes Blanche’s perspective on marriage in about twenty seconds. “Oh look I can accept the fact that he’s gay. But why does he have to slip a ring on this
guy’s finger so the whole world will know?” “Why did you marry George?” “We loved each other. We wanted to make a lifetime commitment, wanted
everybody to know.” “That’s what Doug and Clayton want too. Everyone wants someone to grow old with. And shouldn’t everyone have that chance?” That’s it — so simple, four lines of dialogue. Sophia points out that what Clayton wants
is exactly what Blanche wanted, and exactly what so many other people want. And remember, this episode aired just as people
were starting to take marriage equality seriously. People were used to just laughing off the
idea of two men getting married. But not for much longer. This is when Blanche begins to understand
how Clayton feels. But she still isn’t sure how she feels. “Well Clay, this is very difficult for me. I still can’t say I understand but I’ll try
to respect your decision to do it. I want you to be happy.” That’s not bad. Ok, so Blanche isn’t about to march in a pride
parade. (Although Rue McClanahan often did.) What’s so touching about this ending is that
it’s really not an ending at all — it’s the start of Blanche finally doing the work she
said she was going to do two years ago when Clayton came out. She’s finally acknowledging that accepting
her gay brother is going to be hard for her, it’ll be a struggle, but she’s going to work
on it because she loves him. And that’s a pretty accurate reflection of
where America was at that point on LGBT issues. Unsure, awkward, with a lot of progress to
make — but moving in the right direction. These two episodes are a perfect reflection
of America’s attitude on LGBT family — and Blanche reflects how a lot of Americans felt. In that first episode, coming out to straight
people is a painful but necessary process — something Clayton needs to do to end decades
of lies. When he does, Blanche at first refuses to
believe that someone she thought she knew could be gay. It’s only when she sees how alike they are,
and that he’s still a part of the family, that she warms to him. That’s exactly where American public opinion
was when the episode aired. Afraid that gay people were a threat, reluctant
to accept them. That first episode reminds viewers that gay
people are everywhere, and that when they come out to you, they’re still the same person. Then in the second episode, Blanche once again
stands in for American public opinion — this time on marriage. What used to be a joke is now real, and she
cannot for the life of her understand why two gay men would want to get married. Similarly, in 1990, only around 25% of Americans
supported the freedom to marry. There was a lot of work that had to be done
to change those minds. Americans — and Blanche — weren’t supportive
of marriage equality yet. But they were open to change. And the two things that made that change happen
were getting to know LGBT people and seeing them in relationships. Like, for example, on these two episodes. These episodes don’t just reflect a change
that was happening in America. They show how that change can happen. They gave viewers a roadmap to acceptance,
and helped push Americans to experience the same growth as Blanche. Here we have a household of little old ladies,
the sweetest and most old-fashioned people you could imagine, helping a man come out,
then welcoming him and his husband, and promising to work on acceptance in the future. If these girls can do it, so can America. Well we’re pulling into port! Thanks for joining me, and thanks to everyone
who makes the Culture Cruise possible with your pledge of a dollar or more a month on
Patreon — folks like Gary Cannon. You can visit or click
the link in the description to help make the show possible. Let me know in the YouTube comments what culture
you’d like to visit on future episodes. Or tweet at me @mattbaume — I read all the
comments and I love hearing your thoughts. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to practice
bending over backwards.

About the author


  1. Is the blind date really a "beard" if he's not doing the set-up between them? Doesn't "beard" imply it's something that a gay man sets-up not his unwitting family relatives.

  2. It’s too bad that more seniors aren’t like the Golden Girls. The reality is that most can’t bring themselves to say “gay” unless with dripping derision.

  3. Hi! Amazing episode! I was wondering if you could make a video on the 1975 film 'Dog Day Afternoon'. Although it's not a political movie, it has one of the first examples of a queer main character where the movie isnt about his queerness, but rather its essential to him and the plot.

  4. If you enjoy Gay, Coming out videos and stories, you’ll want to consider Cameron DeCessna’s latest book, Clay Parker: Growing Up Gay in 1953. It’s the story of a fourteen-year-old boy confused by his feelings, thoughts, and dreams as he reaches adolescence and finds his sexual interests are for other teenage boys. But it's 1953, a time of conservatism and rigid family and moral values. To top off Clay's problems, he's an orphan forced to live with an abusive aunt and uncle who openly show their distaste for the lad who was severely burned when a house fire killed his mother, father, and younger brother. They would be the last persons he could turn to, to help him cope with his alien feelings. This is the story of Clay's troubles, trials, and final triumph as he strives to find a family who will love him after he is forced to run away from home after a severe beating by his drunken uncle. The book contains graphic sexual descriptions that may not be suitable for children under 12, although it would be highly recommended reading for gay teens to raise their awareness of the struggles of adolescent gay boys in earlier times. Cameron DeCessna is a gay novelist best known for his Jordan Dare Trilogy, released in mid-summer of 2018 and available at Amazon Kindle Books. While the Jordan Dare series is written for all readers, 12 and up, and has no adult-only content, some of DeCessna's works are more suitable for adult readers. This novel, Clay Parker: Growing up Gay in 1953, is the first of several gay, coming-of-age stories the author plans to release in late 2018 and 2019. DeCessna, born in 1951, writes from personal experience and vividly captures the difficulties faced by gay adolescents during those times. Look for Cameron DeCessna’s books and visit his author’s page at Amazon/Kindle Publishing. Also, if you enjoy stories and books about ghosts and the supernatural, you might be interested in reading CAMERON DECESSNA’S Jordan Dare trilogy of novels that include Jordan Dare and the Kidnapped Ghost, Jordan Dare and the Tolchester Ghost and Jordan Dare and the Captive Spirit. These three intertwined novels feature a gay protagonist who, since the age of thirteen, has been able to see and speak with recently departed or murdered gay men and teens that, for some reason, are unable to “move on”. His ability leads to one adventure after another as he helps to solve murders, right wrongs and help the deceased settle their earthly affairs. Even though Jordan is gay, the books contain no graphic sexual content. His preference does affect how he deals with the gay spirits sent to him by some unknown entity. By the end of the third book, Jordan learns more about his mentor and discovers an alternate world in which he has a greater destiny to fulfill, thus setting the stage for other Jordan Dare novels.

  5. How do I get in contact with a Patreon employee? I am trying to put Patreon on my newest website, but I can't get in contact with Patreon to request content. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  6. As a bisexual man, I love your channel. I know I’m not gay fully, but I love seeing the older shows and your discussion, your series is so fantastic!

  7. I like to think that Sophia was going to say, "I'll bet he'd bend over forwards for you, too~" but it was a little bit too much so they just cut to her mouth being covered and let everyone else fill in the blanks lol

  8. I've been binge watching this series, and I just have to say I really appreciate the context you provide of the time period. Very well researched and extremely informative. Cheers!

  9. I'm pretty sure the reason Dorothy claps her hand over Sophia's mouth is because he was setting her up for a joke. Doug said "he'd bend over backwards for me" and Sophia was probably about to say "He'd been over forwards too!"

  10. Just found your channel and I'm working through the archive. Loving it! A quick comment regarding your mention of the pilot episode, specifically the gay houseboy. The character was indeed dropped once the show went to series, but there's no evidence it was due to his homosexuality. The pilot made it crystal clear that its success was built on the chemistry between the four actresses, and a fifth character did not fit into that dynamic. (The proof of this hypothesis is the fact that the show never added another regular character throughout its run). And someone in the writers' room probably noted that, if these women had a full-time servant, any future plotline regarding the Girls' struggles with finances would have rung hollow.

  11. I love Golden girls. Though it does in fact remind me of such a scary time. My brother came of age during the 80s, as a very out gay man. While I still think it was the height of gay art and culture, it was shadowed with such fear of Aids and lots of death. So many feelings come rushing back.

  12. I have just rediscovered this show – I was too young before to understand how amazing, progressive and courageous it was – the fact that it still resonate today and is still relevant is a testament to its greatness. It's sad to think we've lost all our golden girls save for Lady Betty White, but she compensate for the lost of the three others.

  13. "He'll bend over backwards for me." You just know Sophia was about to say, "Will he bend over forwards?"

  14. And here we are in 2019 and it looks like all good hard work and hard won rights will be resended and it will all start over again. With a homophobic president and gov officials trying to undo all the hard work done before Trump got into such a powerful position.

  15. You know of course Dorothy was the voice of reason but I think the voice of the heart really came from Rose and shockingly as vulgar as Sofia is she is the last person to tear someone down for someone that just wants to love. Very deep and rooted material was thrown into the series and I love how they tackled on subjects such as older women going and buying condoms and what to do if your friend is gay and likes you and just a whole slew of other things that most people don't think about was discussed on the show and I think it opened quite a few people's hearts in Minds and I think it's one of the first true things besides Madonna's work with age and involvement with the gay community and showing the lives of gay people in truth or dare was probably the two main things that was in pop culture at that time that treated it as if it was brought up not that long ago from today. They were the two standing things in pop culture that I think really not only helped people who bigots necessarily but naive change their viewpoints and also learn that a disease cannot be carried through the wind when it comes to AIDS like that but also gave a voice to those who are either afraid to come out or were afraid to lose family friends or feel less human 4 coming out. Madonna was my main thing to giving me what I felt was my true self when it came to knowing I was normal just special in a different way but it didn't make me a freak it made me more proud that God gave me this ability to love in a way where it's already hard to fight for love but make me appreciate Love More and it also Health with Golden Girls and my grandma and I are watching it and that show I think really helped her he, just the remarkable woman she was too but I do think my grandma would have loved me regardless the same way with or without it because she just had so much love in her heart to give. We were two peas in a pod let me tell you and it felt like I grew up with a golden girl cuz she looked like rose and had the sweetness of Rose but not the naive bumbling effects which that character had. And thank you for putting this video up because some people still need to be graced with such understanding even today

  16. HAPPY PRIDE MONTH MOTHAFUCKAAAAAA!!!! 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈♥️💘💛💚💙💜🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈

  17. I watch and rewatch your videos because I feel so lonely queer. Like, i can't find enough queer stuff to feel comon.

  18. I myself am Bi, and I live in Texas. You remember Texas? The Republican Party platform in our state in 2012 recognized homosexuality as a "mental illness". No, not kidding, heard it on a local news station. I realize that hasn't been true in 50 years, the mental illness part. My mom is in her 70s and quite liberal. When I told her, she said, and I quote, "Oh, I thought you were going to tell me something bad." Every time a young gay friend of mine talks about how they're afraid to tell their family, I want to take them home to Mom so she can feed them and tell them it's going to be okay. Yeah, we're never sure it's going to be okay, but having a little old lady accept them is something that can help.

  19. someone else mentioned how they broke barriers with an episode about dementia. it was a gentleman that sophia seemed to like and keep company with in the park. his daughter would watch to see that he was ok and then dorothy came by to watch as well. and for the record, the man was black but that was not even an issue. it's really a beautfiul espisode

  20. I see why gay guys or people in general like this host… hes personable and is adorable in that outfit

  21. Ironic…..The vast majority of the Actors who portray Gay Characters within Gay-related issues on Television are in Actuality Straight, Married People with Children…..not really queer and doing the roles just for the MONEY….

  22. Gah…I remember those days…I was just a teen, also in the Military, very, very closeted…and I did NOT like it that these types of shows were on, because I was SURE that it would lead people to suspect me. That’s sad…in hindsight. I wouldn’t come out for almost 8 more years…and between that time I joined a Pentecostal church and I buried myself in religion to hide from myself. I hated my 20s. Worst decade of adulthood for me.

  23. I know it’s the way things are, I know it’s the way societies work, but it’s still rather annoying that people are forced to wait for societal acceptance before BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS are recognized for marginalized groups. “Well, you’ll be able to marry one day when we have a majority of people accept it, even though what two adult people do in the privacy of their lives is none of their business.” Ugh.

  24. Sophia was the “gay butler’s replacement”.. maybe it was because he was only on for one episode, but for me, them having a butler just doesn’t work
    I’ll still cherish this show, my grandmother and I watched from debut to finale and then continued on with Golden Palace, Empty Nest and Nurses… I was 5 years old when Golden Girls came out and it seems like just yesterday

  25. Love this dive into nostalgia. If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s you knew the golden girls.

    I love seeing your perspective on this. Keep up the good work.

  26. The whole concept of the show was progressive 4 senior women having sexual relationships and unapologetic. I wish we had shows exploring this issue. That's why I love Grace and Frankie

  27. You can now rent the house on Airbnb

  28. I know I watched this video a year ago and gave it a like but I just saw it now and want to say: "Was"? Handsome….*it still is*. In very many ways, even though we finally won the right to marry the man or woman we love, in an unfortunate number of ways, our rights have backpedaled like crazy in the last few years…*especially* in the public opinion realm. And, well, with the Supreme Court in the makeup it is now, I don't see that changing anytime soon…and that's incredibly disheartening.

    'Cause you know….the belief you choose is TOTALLY more important and must be elevated above all law at all costs vs who you are and who you love.

  29. Oh wow I just found this channel through another subscribers liked videos and I immediately love it. I'm a bit of a queer academic myself, so this is right up my alley, though I admit I'm not as familiar with certain shows and their gay representation/portrayal. I'd been focusing more on intersectionality, largely between race/nationality and queerness, and even just seeing this has made me realize that I've been neglecting to take into account some areas of pop culture as influences.

    This is only the first vid of yours I've seen so far but consider me a new subscriber. Great stuff.

  30. I recall one of my best friends in University in the 80s, trying to come out to his parents, he was the only boy of five siblings, the youngest, Filipino and Catholic.

  31. Its funny I am not gay but I love watching videos like this and Needs More Gay from Rantasmo. I just like seeing how these things were handled and learning the history involved I guess.

  32. I haven't seen all your videos, but I would like to see some videos on Ellen (the sitcom – 1994 I think? but specifically starting with The Puppy Episode.) Along with Xena and Buffy. People were responding to these cultural milestones in very visceral ways – especially in my little slice of suburban cornbread in the heart of dixie. This was during the same time that people were literally banning Harry Potter books because they promoted witchcraft – probably only spreading the word (like wildfire? too much?) and making the most popular children's book franchise of all time.

    Rosie O'Donnell was frequently the butt of a joke, because she was fat, I guess, and also "crazy," and she didn't look very ladylike. "Rosie O'Donnel" was synonymous with ugly, and frankly I didn't understand why people were being so mean to the lady who was going on Slimetime live and didn't even act mad when she was being Slimed.

    I heard some kids go like, "Did you hear about Ellen Degeneres? She came out. SHE'S GAY!" They were very mad, very scandalized, frankly kind of scary, and also maybe 8 or so, and I wasn't entirely sure they knew what "gay" meant, so they were probably just parotting their parents, but I didn't feel like it was safe for me to even be an "ally" in that moment.

    Xena and Gabrielle were a frequent topic of conversation, and a popular take was that they were just very good friends. Close friends. Best friends who are explicitly called soulmates. And who kissed 2-3 times. Girls are just really affectionate with each other sometimes.

    When I was 10 (which must've been '99), I kissed my best friend, and then we never talked about it again, but I could never, ever stop thinking about it. On that same day, I turned on the TV after school, and I saw Xena and Gabrielle's very platonic kiss of pure friendship. In Xena and Gabrielle, I saw myself and my best friend. Kinda looked like true love, but according to some people, totally normal girl stuff. So cool. I wasn't gay or anything. Whew! That was a close one!

    It was a confusing time with a lot of different messages floating around about gay people, but when I was 12 (This would've been in 2001,) my mother introduced me to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not even remotely aware that she was about to change my life. Even though I wasn't fully aware of why I identified with her, Buffy was clearly queer coded – torn between a desire for a normal life and embracing her destiny and power as the Slayer, the most powerful girl in the world. In the preceding film that's her backstory, she was told that she had to keep that identity a secret to protect everyone she loves. But unexpectedly, she has to use her powers to save Xander and Willow, and she has to tell them her secret.They have a little trouble coming to terms with it, but instead of running away from her dangerous and scary secret life, they're determined to help her face it in any way she can, even if they don't have superpowers like her.

    And then there's Willow and Xander. They're like the embodiment of the anxieties of every teenager. Like Buffy, they're trying to figure out who they are, and who they want to grow up to be, and try to gain some confidence in themselves.

    Eventually, Buffy has to come out to her mom as a Slayer – and Joyce needs some time to deal with it "I'm not ready to march in the Slayer pride parade," but eventually she comes to understand that this is just who Buffy is, and she didn't get to choose her destiny.

    And then, when I was least expecting it, Willow was finding this beautiful, pure love with Tara, and in the moment she tells Buffy why she's so confused about her old boyfriend coming back, and it hits Buffy what Willow is trying to say to her, Buffy is thrown off, and I am incredibly tense, because for some reason I think Buffy is the physical manifestation of every friend I've ever had in this moment, and she doesn't really know how she feels about it, but she says and she knows that she loves Willow and she wants her to be happy no matter what.

    Buffy eventually explicitly tells Tara's abusive family that was trying to make her believe she was evil – literally a demon – that Tara's got a new family, and one that would love her even if she was a demon.

    At one point Willow turns literally evil, deeply hurts all of them (physically), goes on a murder rampage and wants to destroy the world, and they still want to save Willow, and even when she's trying to (again, literally) destroy the world, and Buffy's given up on her, Xander, with no powers, still goes to Willow and he reminds her that he loves her and he always will no matter what.

    And at that moment, I didn't really fully know why, but I just broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. Because if Xander could love Willow that much, than maybe someone could love me that much. Even if I might be "kinda gay."

  33. Please examine the West Wing's episode, the Portland Trip. Josh argues with a gay congressman about an anti-gay marriage bill.

  34. Coming out is never easy no matter if you're gay, lesbian or even asexual like me. When I tell people I'm asexual, I'm often confronted with misconceptions.

    – So you're straight but you just don't like sex.
    -You're actually a lesbian but you don't accept yourself so you're repressing your sexuality.
    -Ok, but for real do you prefer men or women?
    – Someone must have hurt you in "that way" and that's why you're terrified of sex.
    – You're just saying that because it's hype.

  35. "That's still the case for a lot of people" it's me, I'm a lot of people. And unfortunately I have proof in my uncle's distance from my family that I'm not overreacting

  36. When I was a kid a remember my first exposure I had to homophobia. I was watching a show, I forget the name, that was fictionalized family court cases and it was the focus of an episode. I was baffled by it, while I was raised Catholic my parents have always been pro lgbt, and honestly I still am. I’m Christian now and I don’t care what gender you love or are attracted to just be ethical about it (consenting, no kids, don’t cheat… same as if your straight)

  37. I'd love to see you talk about Jeremy Brett on Grenada's Sherlock Holmes or Christopher Hewett as Mr. Belvedere.

  38. My uncle Paul was Gay. He died of auto immune syndrome complications in 1996 aged 40. So I saw first hand all his struggles with acceptance. Saw all the jokes and intolerance of others. I still talk to his former boyfriend. He is family to us. Hopefully we can move past all this intolerance that seems to have reared its ugly head again. I can only lead by example. Pointing out bigotry and supporting my friends who are gay.

  39. I don’t know if this has already been done, but I’d like to see your take on the episode where Rose has an AIDS scare

  40. Idk why but whenever I'm anxious I always watch those videos?? Something about Matts demeanour and ignorant tv characters learning things calms me down

  41. I don't really think of these characters as "little old ladies". I mean, they're seniors, of course, but they work, they date, they have sex, they try new things, they're active in the community, they have fun, their mental acuity is good, they eat several pounds of cheesecake per week and don't get fat. They're doing better than most of us.

  42. Clay is played by the very popular actor Monte Markham. From the mid-sixties on he appeared in dozens of TV series and many movies. From Mary Tyler Moore to HAwaii Five-O, Melrose Place to Dallas to Fringe. Doug is played by Michael Ayr, who worked in TV through the 80s into the early 90s, and also appeared on Broadway a few times in the 80s.

  43. Appreciate the video and getting a glimpse into the 80s (since I was born after that). But for the love of god, as one get to another, that outfit you’re wearing is just way too gay.

  44. The Golden Girls, a show focussing on elderly women, was the most progressive US show of its time. It showed ageing as a joyful, even if tedious at times, experience, women being active, sexually active, past the age of 60, and was fiercely pro-ga, when it really was not trendy.
    As a gay man I will never forget what they did for people, for us!

  45. I am afraid to say that in 2019 if one of my siblings came out today my Dad would probably quit talking to them 🙁 he said once he just doesn't know what they would have to talk about. Like you can only talk to your children through some sort of weird sexual orientation lense.

  46. "…Rose, who puts on full make up and jewelry to read a cat magazine alone by herself." I might be way off base here but I notice that with a lot of people in that age group. My own grandma is 90 and she does her hair, make up and jewelry everyday even if she just sits and watches TV. It was a mind set of something a person just did when she got up. And I could never imagine my late grandpa lounging around in his pajamas watching a movie on the couch. He'd watch a movie on the couch, but he'd be fully dressed, shaved and put together to do it.

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