10 Pop Culture Breakthroughs for the Gay Community

The history of the gay community in America can be traced through significant milestones in pop culture. The march toward equality and social acceptance continues for gays, of course, but throughout their journey, we have seen some memorable moments. Here is a list of 10 pop culture breakthroughs for the gay community:

  1. The Advocate – It began as a simple Los Angeles-based newsletter, published by activist group PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education). It grew into a newspaper, and then a monthly magazine, with a circulation of over 175,000, serving the LGBT community across the country.
  2. Advise and Consent (1962) – A political drama at its core, this Otto Preminger film has a brazenly forthright (for its time) subplot involving the homosexual past of one of its main characters, a rookie senator played by Don Murray.
  3. First Gay Pride Day (1970) – New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles host their first events for gay rights. Marches are formed in both New York and L.A., while a ‘gay-in’ is staged in San Francisco.
  4. That Certain Summer (1972) – A TV movie is aired which depicts major stars Martin Sheen and Hal Holbrook as homosexual lovers. The fact that it is a made-for-television film, with big name stars in gay roles is a huge pop culture milestone.
  5. Rock Hudson (1985) The AIDS scourge that had ravaged the gay community for a decade suddenly had a new face, and one that was loved and revered by the public. Hudson showed the world that the gay community’s struggle was closer to home than many had chosen to believe to that point.
  6. An Early Frost (1985) – Another made-for_TV movie, it is about a young gay man who must share the news with his parents of not only his homosexuality but also of his having contracted AIDS.
  7. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (1992) – A play by Tony Kushner that addresses such issues as AIDS, religion and politics from a gay perspective. It wins the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
  8. Ellen (1997) – A TV sitcom starring Ellen DeGeneres, in which the title character Ellen Morgan comes out as a lesbian. That same year, DeGeneres herself goes public about her homosexuality on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
  9. Brokeback Mountain (2005) – An Ang Lee film depicting the gay relationship between two cowboys. It touches on the emotional, social and physical pain of their love in a time of repression and fear.
  10. “Nuke” – August 17, 2007: Luke Snyder and Noah Mayer, gay characters on the daytime soap As the World Turns, share the first ever kiss between gay males on American daytime TV.


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