Grab the remote, set your DVR or queue up your streaming service of choice! GLAAD is bringing you the LGBTQ highlights on TV this week. Check back every Sunday for up-to-date coverage in LGBTQ-inclusive programming on TV.
Documentary Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado premieres on Wednesday. Every day for decades, Walter Mercado — the iconic, non-conforming TV personality— mesmerized 120 million viewers with his extravagance and positivity. Then he vanished from the public eye. The film takes a look into his life, that mystery, and his enduring legacy. Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado: Wednesday, on Netflix.
A new Netflix film, The Old Guard, will be released on Friday. The film follows a group of mysterious group of immortal mercenaries who have fought to protect the world for centuries. But when their extraordinary abilities are suddenly exposed, it’s up to Andy and Nile to help the group eliminate the threat of those who seek to replicate and monetize their power by any means necessary. The group includes Joe and Nicky, two men deeply in love. The Old Guard: Friday, on Netflix.
Taking to social media, Sesame Street posted a short but sweet line of solidarity to the LGBT+ people, paired alongside an illustration of its colourful characters holding hands, recreating the famous six-striped Pride flag.
“On our street, we accept all, we love all, and we respect all,” it wrote. “Happy #PrideMonth!”
Tallying more than 97,000 likes on Instagram, thousands of users praisedSesame Street for showing its support. “That’s it, I’m moving to Sesame Street,” one user remarked.
Another added: “THIS! It’s no wonder this programming has withstood the test of time. 50+ years of inclusivity and education through love.”
“Thank you Sesame Street for teaching me how to learn and how to treat everyone with love and respect,” a user reflected.
“I can’t forget the times I was a kid, I’ve watched this show every day at my grandmother’s house. You guys never changed or never hated.”
Sesame Street executives have long wrestled with the idea that Bett and Ernie are gay.
However, as the Advocate reported, not all responses to the US series’ Pride post were positive.
“My daughter is six” a Facebook user commented. “The fact is she will not see a family like hers in the show before she outgrows it” referring to the show’s long-documented lack of LGBT+ representation.
“That may be just a ‘waiting period’ for the show — but it is her childhood and it will never happen. So many of the other kids get to see families like theirs represented.
“Her friends at school who don’t think a kid ‘can have two mommies’ don’t see it either.”
Indeed, while Sesame Street has gingerly begun to increase its inclusivity, having the likes of Billy Porter and Lil Nas X on the show, showrunners have long-denied that characters Bert and Ernie are queer.
Fan speculation has simmered for decades that the roommates are in a relationship, seeing them emerge as queer icons. But executives have consistently denied that they are queer, with executive vice president of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit which created Sesame Street tepidly saying that they are if the viewer thinks they are.
“People can think whatever they want [about Bert and Ernie].” Brown Johnson said in 2019.
“You want to think they’re gay? Okay. You want to think they’re not gay? They’re not gay,”
For the last six years, ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder” has rolled out some of the most twisted, thrilling, and over-the-top murder-mystery storylines on network television. Fans are getting ready to say goodbye to the series that centers around Annalise Keating, a bisexual law professor played by Viola Davis, and her faithful group of law students. The show’s “whodunit” moments have struck a chord with audiences, prompting many social media hashtags from #WhoKilledSam to #WhoDiedAtTheWedding. However, no matter how many bloody messes Keating and Co. have cleaned up during the show’s 90-episode run, the series’ lasting legacy will lie in its commitment to creating compelling and diverse LGBTQ storylines.
Ahead of the May 14 series finale, Anthony Ramos, GLAAD’s Head of Talent, spoke to showrunner and creator Pete Nowalk as well as actors Conrad Ricamora and Amirah Vann, who portray queer favorites Oliver Hampton and Tegan Price, respectively.
Oliver is now married to Connor Walsh (played by Jack Falahee) and although the couple is in a much different place than in the beginning, Ricamora says that he thinks their relationship is “the heart of the show.” Then came season two, when we learned that Annalise Keating had a previous long-term relationship with a woman named Eve Rothlo (played by Famke Jansen). Two seasons later, Annalise finally found “a unicorn” in powerhouse Tegan Price, who was in charge of a high-profile law firm and just happened to be Afro-Latinx and a lesbian.
Looking back on a show that ended up being beloved and embraced for its complex, queer storylines, Nowalk says that, surprisingly, it was not his original game plan to do so.
“The LGBTQ legacy is something I am most proud of, but I never set out to make a show that was so LGBTQ. What has been awesome for me is the self-discovery of what a queer point of view I have and to freely inject that into the show,” he said.
“How To Get Away with Murder” was an original member of Shondaland’s famed #TGIT Thursday night lineup with “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” and Vann says that because the show aired on broadcast television, it connects with an audience of people that might be seeing a queer relationship for the very first time.
“This show is reaching so many people. It is necessary television. When people see two men or two women kissing on TV, those moments are seen around the world, and it sends a message that this is the world we live in,” she said.
Vann says she has been an ally to the LGBTQ community “since growing up in New York” and she hopes that her portrayal on the series gets people to stop discrimination against queer people..
“The LGBTQ community is a community of people who need to be treated with dignity and respect because they are human. They are no different than the rest of us,” Vann said.
“How to Get Away with Murder” won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2015, and it was that win that sparked the decision to make Davis’ Annalise Keating bisexual.
“I was actually at the GLAAD Awards that first season, and I told Viola that I had an idea for Season 2. I told her I think Annalise used to be in love with a woman and she just smiled! I think she really likes to be challenged. The whole journey for Annalise is for her to get back to who she is at her core,” he said.
In 2018, another pivotal moment that stands out in the show’s history was when Ricamora’s character came out to his traditional Filipino mother as HIV-positive.
GLAAD worked as an advisor on the episode, introducing the writers to people living with HIV so they could hear their personal stories of telling family members they were HIV-positive.
Ricamora spoke with GLAAD after the episode originally aired and said that it was imperative for him to show an HIV narrative that is not seen nearly enough.
“There is this tendency to approach storylines with characters living with HIV and AIDS with such a heaviness and I think that just in showing Oliver living his day-to-day life, even in episodes where we haven’t mentioned it, it is allowing people to see characters and a person living with HIV that is thriving and it’s not about them having a crisis,” Ricamora said.
Flash forward to today, Ricamora, who is gay, says that portraying Oliver, has helped him accept his own queer identity.
“The show has really healed a deep part of me. I did not have a great coming out experience in high school. I lost most of my friends. When the pilot came out, I had a little bit of a panic attack after I watched it because I realized how many people were going to see this gay story. I felt exposed, the same way I did in high school. But to see the love and support that came out of that experience has truly healed a part of me that was really traumatized.”
In an earlier episode during its final season, Annalise finally opens up to her elderly, ill mother (played by Cicely Tyson) about her sexuality and talks about having been in love with a woman. Two episodes later, we see her declare in an open courtroom “I am a bisexual woman!” Nowalk says that it was important to see this side of her character through to the end.
“When Annalise tells her mother things, so much of the time, she is also really telling that to herself. I finally found that with Annalise – she could own it and she realized that is a part of her. To love herself she had to share that with her mother,” he said.
Like so many shows, a fandom can continue to grow when people stream a series after it’s aired. Nowalk says that because the previous seasons are available on Netflix, he regularly hears from queer people all over the world who say the show finally made them feel seen and represented.
Ricamora says it’s these kinds of messages on social media that he has received for six years that is truly what he is the most proud of.
“On a weekly basis there will be people who say they have been able to see themselves in the character of Oliver, or that they have been made more comfortable with who they are because of Connor and Oliver’s relationship. People have also said that they have been able to come out to their friends and family because of these characters who they could identify with and gain strength from,” he said.
Grab the remote, set your DVR or queue up your streaming service of choice! GLAAD is bringing you the LGBTQ highlights on TV this week. Check back every Sunday for up-to-date coverage in LGBTQ-inclusive programming on TV.
The series finale of The Magicians airs on Wednesday night. The fantasy show is ending on its fifth season, wrapping up the stories of young people with extraordinary abilities in the magical world of Fillory, including queer fan-favorite character Eliot. The Magicians: Wednesday, 10pm on Syfy.
The second half of the final season of ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder will premiere Thursday night. With an ensemble full of queer characters, the final six episodes will conclude the series. In Thursday’s episode, Annalise’s disappearance is exposed; Bonnie discloses a secret about Tegan; Gabriel becomes a murder suspect. How to Get Away with Murder: Thursday, 10pm on ABC.
Sunday February 2 @ 2 pm. Occidental Center for the Arts. HERSTORY IN THE MAKING features four compelling female artists in a matinee performance of original monologues expressing the very heart of the feminine. In a world where women have limited stages, venues and audiences, performance artist Sherry Glaser presents a fascinating Sunday afternoon buffet of comedy, epiphanies and intimate drama by four unique and talented women Kym Trippsmith, Julie Drucker, Ricci Dedola and Sherry Glaser. Sherry is the author and star of award winning solo shows Family Secrets, Taking the High Road, and Oh My Goddess. $15 Adv./ $20 at the door. OCA is wheelchair accessible. Fine refreshments; Art Gallery open.www.occidentalcenterforthearts.org. 3850 Doris Murphy Ct.Occidental, CA. 95465.
Many acclaimed LGBTQ people and allies died in 2019. They include:
Carol Channing, the legendary Broadway actress, died on Jan. 15 at age 97 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was best know for her performances as Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello Dolly!”
Mary Oliver, a lesbian poet, died on Jan. 17 at her Florida home at age 83. Her collection “American Primitive, won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize.
Harris Wofford, a Democratic senator and civil rights crusader, died on Jan. 21 at age 92. After his wife died, Wofford fell in love with Matthew Charlton. They married in 2018.
Barbra Siperstein, a transgender rights crusader died on Feb. 3 at age 76 from cancer at a New Brunswick, N.J. hospital. A New Jersey law bears her name. It permits people in New Jersey to change their gender on their birth certificates without having to prove they’ve had surgery.
Patricia Nell Warren, author of the 1974 novel “The Front Runner” died on Feb. 9 at age 82 in Santa Monica, Calif. from lung cancer. The iconic book was one of the first to feature an open same-sex male relationship.
Hilde Zadek, a Vienna State Opera mainstay, died on Feb. 21 at 101 in Karlsruhe, Germany. She debuted in the title role of in Verdi’s “Aida” in 1947. She retired in 1971.
Jackie Shane, a black transgender soul singer who received a 2018 Grammy nomination for best historical album for her album “Any Other Way,” died at age 78 in Nashville. Her body was found at her home on Feb. 21.
Gillian Freeman, the British novelist who wrote the 1961 novel “The Leather Boys” died on Feb. 23 at age 89 in London. The book was one of the first to portray working-class gay characters.
Carrie Ann Lucas, a queer lawyer and disability rights advocate, died on Feb. 24 at age 47 in Loveland, Colo. She championed the rights of disabled parents.
John Richardson, an art historian renowned for his four-volume biography of Pablo Picasso, died at age 95 on March 12 at his Manhattan home.
Barbara Hammer, a lesbian filmmaker, died at age 79 from ovarian cancer at her partner Florrie Burke’s home in Manhattan on March 16. Hammer celebrated lesbian sexuality in “Dyketactics” and other films.
Dr. Richard Green, a psychiatrist, died at age 82 on April 6 at his London home. He was one of the first to critique the idea that being queer is a psychiatric disorder.
Michael Fesco, the nightclub owner who provided open spaces (Ice Palace, Flamingo and other venues) for gay men to dance when LGBTQ people couldn’t be out, died on April 12 at age 84 in Palm Springs, Calif.
Lyra McKee, a 29-year-old, queer Northern Ireland journalist, died on April 18. She was killed while covering violence in Londonderry.
Giuliano Bugialli, a gay culinary historian and three-time James Beard Award winner, died at age 88 on April 26 in Viareggio, Italy.
Doris Day, queer icon, actress and singer best known for her romantic comedies with Rock Hudson, died at age 97 on May 13 at her Carmel Valley, Calif. home from pneumonia.
Binyavanga Wainaina, a Kenyan author, founder of the magazine “Kwani?” and one of the first prominent African writers to come out as gay, died at age 48 on May 21 in a Nairobi hospital.
Charles A. Reich, author of the 1970 counter-culture manifesto “The Greening of America,” died on June 15 at age 91 in San Francisco.
Douglas Crimp, an art critic and AIDS activist, died on July 5 at age 74 at his Manhattan home from multiple myeloma. He wrote many articles for journals. Yet he also attended meetings of the AIDS group ACT UP.
Elka Gilmore, a queer chef known for her fusion cuisine, died at age 59 on July 6 in San Francisco. The New York Times Magazine called her “the enfant terrible of the modern California kitchen.”
George Hodgman, a gay editor, died on July 19 at age 60 at his Manhattan home. The cause was thought to be suicide. Hodgman’s memoir “Bettyville” is his story of staying in Paris, Mo. with his widowed mother who had dementia.
Lee Bennett Hopkins, a gay poet who wrote and edited many books for children, died on Aug. 8 at age 81 in Cape Coral, Fla. In 2018, he edited “World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from The Metropolitan Museum.”
Sally Floyd, one of the inventors of Random Early Detection (RED), a widely used internet algorithm, died at age 69 on Aug. 25 at her Berkeley, Calif. home from cancer. She is survived by her wife Carole Leita.
Valerie Harper, the actress best known as Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died on Aug. 30 at age 80 from cancer. Harper was D.C.’s 2009 Capital Pride Parade grand marshal.
Rip Taylor, a gay comedian known as The King of Confetti, died on Oct. 6 at age 88 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
John Giorno, a gay artist, died on Oct. 11 at his home in Manhattan at age 82. In 1969, he founded Dial-A-Poem, a communications system enabling people to hear Allen Ginsberg and other poets read their poems.
Gillian Jagger, an artist whose work (installations of animal carcasses and tree trunks) wasn’t aligned with any one movement, died on Oct. 21 in Ellenville, N.Y. at age 88. “I felt that nature held the truth I wanted,” she told the U.K’s Public Monuments and Sculpture Association magazine. She is survived by her wife Connie Mander.
Howard Cruse, a gay cartoonist whose comic strip “Wendel” ran in The Advocate for several years, died on Nov. 26 at age 75 in Pittsfield, Mass. from lymphoma. His graphic novel “Stuck Rubber Baby” and other work influenced other queer cartoonists. He is survived by his husband Ed Sedarbaum.
Michael Howard, a gay military historian and decorated combat veteran and pioneer of the “English school” of strategic studies, died on Nov. 30 in Swindon, England at age 97.
Shelley Morrison, who played Rosario on “Will and Grace” from 1999 to 2006, died on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles at age 83 from heart failure.
William Luce, who wrote the acclaimed plays “The Belle of Amherst” about Emily Dickinson and “Barrymore” about John Barrymore, died on Dec. 9 at a memory-care facility in Green Valley, Ariz. at age 88. Ray Lewis, his partner of 50 years, died in 2001.
The Rio de Janeiro H.Q. of Porta dos Fundos, the Brazilian comedy troupe behind the Netflix gay Jesus Christmas Special sparking outrage in Brazil, was hit by a Molotov cocktail attack in the early hours of Dec. 24.
Two petrol bombs were thrown at the building. causing a fire, which was put out by one of the office’s security guards, according to one report,.
No one was hurt in the attack which, however, “endangered several innocent lives in the company and on the street,” Porta dos Fundos said in a press statement. Porta dos Fundos has given security cam footage of the attack to authorities.
The group‘s Christmas special, “The First Temptation of Christ,” a 46-minute comedy that portrays Jesus bringing home his presumed boyfriend Orlando to meet the Holy Family, prompted around two million people to sign a petition calling on the streaming service to remove the show because it offended Christians.
President Jair Bolsonaro, who has described himself as a “proud” homophobe, once told an interviewer he would rather have a dead son than a gay son. His son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, recently called Porta dos Funds’ Christmas special “garbage” on his Twitter account, saying the filmmakers “do not represent Brazilian society.”
A video on social media in Brazil shows three masked people claiming they carried out a gasoline bomb attack to protest a Christmas program on Netflix that some critics have described as blasphemous.
A man in the video, whose voice is digitally altered, says the Christmas Eve attack on a video production house in Rio de Janeiro targeted Brazilian humorist group Porta dos Fundos for its Portuguese-language program.
The man claims to speak for a group he calls the Command of Popular National Insurgence. The video, which was circulating on Thursday, also shows three people throwing gasoline bombs into the building.
Every holiday season traditional and streaming networks create a ton of holiday romantic comedies but they consistently fail to create meaningful stories from the queer perspective.
Written by Kathryn Trammell, directed by Christin Baker, “Season of Love” is a lighthearted rom-com featuring a large ensemble cast of diverse women and their connected love lives during the hectic holiday period just before Christmas through the New Year who discover love truly is the best gift of all.
The movie brings together some fan favorites including actresses from classic LGBTQ films and current television shows including Dominique Provost-Chalkley (“Wynonna Earp”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), Jessica Clark (“True Blood”, “A Perfect Ending”), Emily Goss (“Snapshots”), Laur Allen (“Young and the Restless”), Janelle Marie and Sandra Mae Frank (“Deaf West’s Spring Awakening”, “Daybreak”).
Decrying the lack of LGBTQ+ characters and more specifically LGBTQ+ female leads in holiday movies, Tello Films and DASH Productions are proud and excited to be breaking grounds and releasing the first ever Holiday romantic comedy for LGBTQ+ women, Season of Love this December.
“We talk a lot today about diversity on screen but it’s also important to talk about diversity behind the camera. Season of Love has a queer female writer, director and producers that shape the voice of the film and it rings so true to a queer woman’s experience because we have queer women all over this cast and crew. It’s a delight to be part of that,” said Goss.
The Pride LA spoke with Baker about her experience creating the ultimate queer holiday movie. Check it out:
In one sentence, what is Season of Love?
Season of Love is the holiday RomCom that you’ve been waiting for!
Can you elaborate more?
The producing team of Season of Love (Ashley Arnold and Danielle Jablonski) was inspired last holiday season because there wasn’t one Holiday movie that had a queer lady storyline. Ashley said that it was time that we did something about it and came up with the idea to do a call for holiday RomComs. We launched it during the holidays in 2018 and now here we are a year later releasing the first Queer Lady Holiday RomCom. Written by Katheryn Trammell it has a “Love Actually” vibe with 3 interconnected storylines with their own level of cuteness and all the holiday feels and magic.
What interested you in directing the film?
I love directing, I love working with actors so that is my happy place. It only added to the joy that this project was so well written and it was the chance to direct something that I knew I would want to watch and the community would want to watch.
What makes the movie unique?
Season of Love is the first specifically queer women-centric holiday feature.
Of course there have been plenty of others with main and supporting queer characters but never one film that had a 100% LGBTQ storyline.
There have been really great Queer Holiday movies but the different love stories in this one is one of the most fun and unique aspects of this movie. I think people will find a storyline that really speaks to them. A couple that they can relate to, which is so fun.
Can you comment on LGBTQ+ representation on screen?
LGBTQ+ representation is really improving a lot on screen which is fantastic. But despite there being over 40 holiday romantic comedies scheduled to come out this holiday season alone there has still never been one that focuses on LGBTQ+ women. So we decided to change that!
Our film features six diverse female characters. Many of the actors identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community as well as the writer, director, producers and many others behind the camera identifying as queer women. We also believe that it’s important to have diversity in casting and are so proud that all three of our main couples are interracial and that one of our lead characters is also deaf. We’ve tried to make this film authentic to the queer experience, where the characters just are who they are and love who they love. While the majority of LGBTQ films feature coming out stories or stories of struggle or stories that rely on the stereotypes of their sexuality, this movie doesn’t. It’s not about coming out, or dealing with homophobia. It’s truly a fun, romantic comedy with a happy ending for our community. As one of our actors, Jessica Clark says, “This is our ‘Love Actually’.”
What was your favorite scene to direct? Why?
Oh, that’s such a tough question! I can’t pick just one… I loved directing a scene where our character Iris is drunk after her husband leaves her at the alter. Emily Goss played it spot on and Jessica and Janelle were so fun watching and trying to help this train wreck friend. Anytime Jessica Clark had to drop something, she plays a clutz really well, which you’d NEVER guess but she’s so good at it! I never had to say “that looked fake” because she sold it every time. There is an adorable scene where Janey sings to Sue and Janelle and Dominique was just so cute. They played off of each other so well and it’s a very sweet scene.
Why should people watch this?
Because Love. It’s a feel-good, fun, love story and we can really use that right now, I think.
Our hope is that it becomes a classic holiday movie staple for our community.
The film is now available online for pre-sale and will be available for rent and/or purchase on December 1, 2019
For the fourth consecutive year, broadcast television has featured a record percentage of LGBTQ characters, according to a report released Thursday by the media advocacy group GLAAD.
Last year, GLAAD called on the broadcast networks to have 10 percent of its regular characters on prime-time scripted series identify as LGBTQ by 2020. According to its 2019-20 “Where We Are on TV” report, the networks more than exceeded that goal.
Of the 879 regular characters scheduled to appear this season, 90, or 10.2 percent, are LGBTQ. This is the highest percentage GLAAD has found in the 15 years it has kept such a count.
“We made a specific call, and to see the networks surpass it is really noteworthy,” Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s director of entertainment research and analysis, told NBC News. “It’s especially exciting to see the number of trans men on TV more than double this year, which last year’s report really pushed television networks to do, and to see that for the first time, LGBTQ women outnumber LGBTQ men on broadcast.”
Among the other significant findings are a marked increase in the racial diversity of LGBTQ characters on broadcast. For the second year in a row, LGBTQ people of color outnumber white LGBTQ characters, with 52 percent of queer regular characters being of color on broadcast series. There are also nine characters with HIV/AIDS on broadcast television, an increase from the seven characters counted last year.
Though considerable progress has been made, Townsend said there were still steps networks needed to take to ensure more equitable LGBTQ representation, which is why GLAAD’s Media Institute works with networks and shows to consult on storylines, find queer talent, train writers’ rooms to talk about LGBTQ issues and promote projects.
“There’s a lot of great numbers to celebrate, but there’s still work to be done,” Townsend said. “Progress is also still found in clusters. Even though there are hundreds of cable networks, 44 percent of LGBTQ representation on television can be found on just three networks: Showtime, Freeform and FX.”
GLAAD also found that only 26 percent of LGBTQ characters on television identify as bisexual+ — a number that is not reflective of their presence, given bisexual+ people compose the majority of the LGBTQ community.
Another gap in representation includes LGBTQ characters with disabilities. While GLAAD counted 27 characters with disabilities this year, the highest percentage its reports have ever noted, this number still falls short of the U.S. population of people with disabilities. Additionally there is only one asexual character across all platforms — Todd Chavez on Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman” — which is a drop from two asexual characters on television last year.
This year GLAAD is calling for 20 percent of characters on prime-time scripted broadcast series be LGBTQ by 2020, and for half of all LGBTQ characters on every platform be people of color within the next two years.
“From ‘Batwoman’ to ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ to ‘Schitt’s Creek’ to ‘One Day at a Time’ to ‘The Politician,’ there’s so many great shows already out there and many upcoming projects we’re looking forward to,” Townsend said. “The key is making sure it’s never left to one character to be the voice of the community.”
Friday was also National Coming Out Day, where LGBTQ people come out of the closet to encourage LGBT! young people that they’re not alone. Smith was the only openly gay host on Fox News, which prompted fans and supporters online to lash out at the network. Though, some Smith advocates called it a good omen.
Smith said in his statement that he had asked for the two to part ways, specifically saying that Fox didn’t want him to but finally relented.