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The best LGBT couple of every decade from the 70s to the 2000’s

Jodie Dallas and Dennis Phillips from Soap (1977)

 

As one of the first regular gay characters on American television, Billy Crystal’s performance as Jodie Dallas was a major breakthrough in television for the LGBT community at the time. Though his relationship with his pro football dreamboat, Dennis Phillips, was short lived on the show, the couple’s struggles with the legal bans on same-sex marriage and sex reassignment surgery resonated with the LGBT community of the 1970’s. Today we can appreciate Jodie and Dennis’ relationship for being the 1st of many steps forward for fair representation of LGBT characters in the media.

 

Steven and Luke from Dynasty (1984)

 

Paving the way for gay visibility on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ellen, Dynasty’s Steven Carrington proved that a gay character had a place on the #1 primetime series in America at the time. Unlike Jodie in Soaps, Steven’s character was not solely defined by his sexuality. In contrast to his promiscuous sister and warring parents, Steven was the “moral voice of reasoning” in his family. Ironically, his relationship with a co worker, Luke Fuller, is an extramarital affair. The unremarkable nature of this lunchroom romance, however, helped normalize same-sex relationships and their tendency to be just as flawed and complicated as heterosexual relationships.

 

Ellen and Laurie from Ellen (1997)

 

Before Ellen became Ellen as we know Ellen today, she had a show called Ellen where she came out as Ellen. Confused? In the infamous episode “The Puppy Episode” of Ellen’s eponymous 90’s sitcom, Ellen made history as the first fictional character to come out as gay. But the fun didn’t stop there, the episode aired on the same day Ellen (as herself, not her character) came out as gay on the Oprah Winfrey show. Although the show was eventually canceled after severe criticism of having an explicitly gay agenda, that episode has been hailed as one of the top 100 episodes of all time by TV guide. Ellen’s fictional girlfriend on the show, Laurie, became a recurring character in the last two seasons. Ellen and Laurie’s relationship was not only a supportive and healthy one, but also put the lesbian couple in a paternal role as a blended family with Laurie’s daughter from a past marriage.

 

Willow and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000)

As arguably one of the most popular and beloved lesbian couples on TV to date, Willow and Tara’s relationship successfully navigated the tricky waters of becoming objects of fantasy for male enjoyment rather than two romantically involved individuals. The couple’s on-screen affection was muted in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts, but the couple did demonstrate a sentimental, soft, and consistent affection for each other that other shows had shied away from in the past. Before dating Tara, Willow’s character had already developed and was intrinsic to the plot of the series, further demonstrating how sexual orientation isn’t an encompassment of one’s character or lifestyle.

Chanel Samson is a Public Relations major and former Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Broward College. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, she enjoys politely asserting her Canadian superiority in any given situation. Along with her involvement in Her Campus, she is an avid poet, which has earned her several awards and publications. She currently works for a travel publication in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
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