15 LGBTQ+ Characters From 90s Television That Gave Us Hope
These 90s characters helped us all remember we're not alone!
ABC, Renaissance Pictures
The 1990s was an interesting time, full of ups and downs and lots of memorable television.
Although LGBTQ+ representation these days is much more prevalent among viewers, let's take a look at the 15 characters who represented the community during a time when the topic of being gay was still a little taboo.
Matt Fielding was an original character on Melrose Place who appeared in all seven seasons. His main storyline was his struggle as a gay man in a conservative society.
Jon Hanley was a character on General Hospital who, like the actor that played him, ultimately died of complications from AIDS. Although his time on the show was short due to the untimely death of the actor, his HIV+ storylines were pivotal for the early 90’s slot they were aired.
Ellen Morgan, played by Ellen DeGeneres, came out on the situational comedy show Ellen (yes, that’s a whole lot of Ellens) in 1997 in the famous “Puppy Episode.”
Will, one of the title characters of Will & Grace, is endearingly high-strung, professionally successful, and one of the most loyal friends on TV. Will & Grace’s successful eight-season run proved it pays off to give screen time to gay characters.
Will & Grace’s Jack McFarland loved himself, and he loved being gay. He unabashedly adores Cher and The Golden Girls, pursues a very unlikely theater career, and will always fight for our Constitutional right to see two hotties get it on.
Queer women who watched Xena: Warrior Princess knew from the beginning that Xena and Gabrielle were more than just gal pals, but the relationship was cemented as cannon in the minds of most fans when Lucy Lawless confirmed that she believed the character was intended to be bisexual in a Conan O’Brien interview in 2001.
It's fair to say that Gabrielle also deserves her own personal shout-out in this mix. She and Xena may have gotten closer over the years, but she came on strong and independent from the start. She had an identity outside of Xena, she was brave, confident, and courageous, and remains an icon to this day.
When we’re first introduced to Enrique “Rickie” Vasquez on My So-Called Life, he identifies as bi, but later comes out to friends Angela and Rayanne as gay. Beyond being a caring, calming force in the friendships between himself, Angela, and Rayanne, he also has the best sense of style on the show, hands down.
Though Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones was definitely more into men, she doesn’t limit herself to just one gender. In season 4, Samantha dates Maria, and then totally breaks every queer girl’s heart when she decided she missed men too much.
Jack McPhee on Dawson’s Creek gave voice to the difficulty of coming out as a teen in a family that’s already dysfunctional and has a whole lot of homophobia to work through.
Okay, so Christopher Meloni’s character, Chris Keller, on the HBO series Oz was kind of an Evil Bisexual. It wasn’t exactly positive representation. But there were some slim pickings, and you couldn’t say it wasn’t entertaining.
Technically Willow didn’t come out on Buffy the Vampire Slayer until 2000, but there were definitely hints. Remember alternate reality Willow from "The Wish" and "Doppelgangland" who Buffyverse reality Willow thought might be “a little gay”?
Larry Blaisdell was a minor character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but he still packed a memorable punch. Introduced as a butch and macho bully from the football team, he ended his brief storyline by coming out and setting a standard for being true to who you are.
Carol Willick-Bunch, Ross’s ex-wife on Friends, appears throughout the show, and is a co-parent with Ross. She marries Susan Bunch in “The One With The Lesbian Wedding.”
Dr. Maggie Doyle
Dr. Maggie Doyle came out as a lesbian on ER in 1997, where she worked as an emergency room intern.