Focus Features
  • gay themed movies

    James Franco played Sean Penn's young lover Scot Smith in the film "Milk." ''For actors of my generation, Sean is considered the best,'' Franco has said.
    Focus Features
  • Dynasty

    The character Steven (Al Corley, Jack Coleman) on the prime-time soap "Dynasty" was the gay son of family patriarch Blake Carrington (John Forsythe). Carrington is considered one of the most controversial television characters of all time. Fearful of conservative backlash, the show kept changing the character's sexuality throughout the drama's nine-season run, with Carrington going back and forth between men and women, frustrated in his inability to develop a lasting relationship.
    Sipa
  • Melrose Place

    The gay character on "Melrose Place," Matt Fielding, played by Doug Savant, was a social worker who had no love life during the first season. He spent much of his story line in one discrimination-related lawsuit after the next, was beaten up in a gay-bashing incident, lost his job and then regained it. Fielding, who now stars in "Desperate Housewives," said of playing Matt Fielding, "The first question out of most journalists' mouths is ''Are you gay?'' I never told anyone I was straight.... It was an extraordinarily biased question. Life changed because of the amount of attention the show was given. I took it with a grain of salt. I was never in the eye of the storm because I was Matt, the gay character."
    Fox
  • gay themed movies

    A 1996 episode of "Friends," titled "The One With the Lesbian Wedding" features Ross' ex-wife Carol (Jane Sibbett) marrying her lesbian lover Susan (Jessica Hecht) in a wedding officiated by Candace Gingrich, Newt's lesbian sister. NBC affiliates in Port Arthur, Texas, and Lima, Ohio, refused to air the episode, but that did not stop it from being the highest-rated TV program for the week it aired.
    NBC
  • Will and Grace

    In 1997, the same year "Ellen" was canceled, NBC introduced audiences to "Will & Grace," the story of straight designer Grace Adler and her friendship with gay attorney Will Truman. With a strong supporting cast, snappy scripts and situations that focused on the characters instead of sexuality, "Will & Grace" immediately caught on and remained a top-10 hit for the network.
    NBC
  • The L Word

    Showtime's groundbreaking show "The L World" has done remarkably well since it premiered in 2004. The show centers on a diverse group of lesbian, transgender and bisexual friends living in West Hollywood, Calif. The series has cultivated a devoted following, with many fans meeting every Sunday night for viewing parties at viewers' homes or at packed establishments like the Falcon in West Hollywood. It has also spawned its own social networking site (www.OurChart.com) and garnered huge popularity in the virtual world through fan Web sites, blogs and podcasts. The show will kick off its sixth and final season in January 2009.
    Showtime
  • Gays in Movies

    The Children's Hour (1961): Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Maclaine starred as teachers whose careers are ruined when they are accused of being lesbians, in a film that introduced -- but sternly condemned -- homosexuality. Shirley Maclaine's character commits suicide at the end of the film, after revealing that she does indeed have feelings for Audrey Hepburn.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    The Killing of Sister George (1968): An aging, alcoholic lesbian soap opera star competes with a vindictive female TV executive for the affections of her younger lover. Gay and lesbian activists dislike it, saying the characters are petty and one-dimensional, and so does the industry: The taboo subject alone earns the film an X rating.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    Boys in the Band (1970): Widely regarded as the first "gay movie," this film, by the director of "The French Connection" and "The Exorcist," was the first to out-and-out focus on the lives of gay men. In spite of its often negative depictions of the men and their lifestyles, the movie was largely sympathetic. Based on a 1968 play, the movie was released the year after the Stonewall Riots, which marked the start of the gay rights movement.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    Cruising (1980): Al Pacino starred as a serial killer who lurked in bars, seeking his targets in a seamy depiction of a gay underworld that led to protests of the film by gay activists. Ironically, the movie -- still reviled by gay activists and scholars -- was directed by William Friedkin, whose "Boys in the Band" is considered a classic in the gay community.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    Making Love (1982): Harry Hamlin played a man who leaves his wife, played by "Charlie's Angels" star Kate Jackson, for another man. Actors Richard Gere, Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas reportedly turned the role down; and many say that taking it killed Hamlin's movie career.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    Personal Best (1982): Mariel Hemingway starred as a runner who falls in love with another woman on her team. She eventually leaves her teammate for a man, but gay and lesbian advocates saw the film as a breakthrough for its exploration of a lesbian relationship.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    The Hunger (1983): Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon starred as lesbian vampires in this horror film: novel, campy and salacious, the film sent mixed messages about lesbianism -- but had major star power.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    Silkwood (1983): Perennial Oscar-winner Meryl Streep played a whistleblower at a nuclear power plant in the real-life drama "Silkwood." Cher had a supporting role as her lesbian friend, whose sexual orientation was incidental, rather than central, to the storyline: considered a first for a role in a mainstream release
    ABC News
  • Torch Song Trilogy

    Torch Song Trilogy (1988): Harvey Fierstein starred in this film about three periods in a gay man's life: after a difficult breakup, at the height of a relationship with his true love, played by Matthew Broderick, and raising a child after the death of Broderick's character.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    Longtime Companion (1990): An early appearance for Campbell Scott and Dermot Mulroney, "Longtime Companion" was the first movie to focus on AIDS, telling the story through the eyes of a circle of gay friends in the early days of the epidemic.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    My Own Private Idaho (1991): Gus Van Sant's indie interpretation of Shakespeare's King Henry IV starred heart throbs River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves as street hustlers. Critics said it glamorized gays -- and prostitution.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    The Crying Game (1993): "The Crying Game" was the runaway hit of the year thanks to its ultra-secret twist: one of its main characters is transsexual.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    Philadelphia (1993): Tom Hanks won an Oscar for his portrayal of a gay man with AIDS who sues his employer for discrimination. Antonio Banderas costarred as Hanks' partner in the groundbreaking blockbuster.
    ABC News
  • Gays in Movies

    Priest (1994): Disney subsidiary Miramax released this controversial independent film about a gay priest. Priest was one of the reasons cited by the Southern Baptist Convention in its 8-year boycott of Disney.
    ABC News
  • Brokeback Mountain

    Brokeback Mountain (2005): Heath Ledger (left) and Jake Gyllenhaal (right) star as Wyoming ranch hands, who have a turbulent lifelong affair. It was the first major movie to star two A-list actors in gay romantic leading roles. The film was both a commercial and critical hit, despite early fears that its controversial subject matter would mean only limited success at the box office. It garnered eight Oscar nominations -- the most of any film of 2005, including nods for best picture, best director, and best actor.
    Kimberly French
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