Happy LGBTQIA+ History Month!
The entire month of October is a celebration of the history of the diverse and beautiful lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community; as well as the importance of civil rights movements in progressing gay rights.
The original observance the commemorative month was started back in 1994 by gay high school teacher Rodney Wilson of Missouri and some of his community members. According to HRC.com, LGBTQ+ History Month was founded with the hopes of giving LGBTQ+ kids a chance Wilson never had: to learn their history and see themselves in those who came before them. As for why October was chosen to honor the fabulous community --- it's because National Coming Out Day already fell in the same month.
The LGBTQ+ community has made tremendous strides over the last few decades, especially in television in film. However, when it comes to Black LGBTQ + representation in the media, there's still a long way to go. As one tweeter pointed out:
"Despite this staggering progress in positive representation of LGBTQ+ people, the overall picture is not so good. Reported hate crimes are rising - and you are much more likely to be attacked if you are trans, Black or disabled. We have to be better."
With stars like Lil Nas X and Raven Symone living their life out loud, the younger generation of LGBTQ+ folks has a bit of inspiration to look to --- but there's still a long road ahead. In honor LGBTQ+ History Month, let's take a look at the best Black LGBTQ+ moments in television history. These characters and storylines have paved the way, inspired many and made Black, queer voices heard in a way that the nation has never seen before. Check them out below.
True Blood - "The Burger Scene"
As a trio of rednecks continue to stir up trouble by hurling homophobic slurs, and sending back their food saying it has AIDS, Lafayette slams the burger into the customer's face in this iconic scene.
Mister Roger's Neighborhood - "Officer Clemmons Joins Mr. Rogers In The Pool"
Not only did Fracois Clemmons make history as the first Black actor to have a recurring role on a children’s program with his role as officer Clemmons -- in this groundbreaking scene, Mr. Rogers symbolically showed where he stood on civil rights at a time when some public pools prohibited Black swimmers. Not to mention, the scene was filmed after the host became aware that his friend, Clemmons, was an openly gay artist. No love lost.
Orange Is The New Black- "Lesbian Request Denied"
The Sophia Burset backstory is a touching tale for the ages.
The Wire- "Omar Little and his lover Brandon"
Wire fans have deemed gun-totting, drug dealer Omar Little, one TV's first Black, Gay superheroes.
Black Mirror - "San Junipero"
"San Junipero" was a queer, interracial love story that viewers couldn't get enough of.
Master Of None - "Thanksgiving"
The groundbreaking episode won Lena Waithe her first Emmy Award -- making her the first African-American woman to take home an Emmy award for comedic writing.
How To Get Away With Murder - "Annaliese Keating & Eve Rothlo"
Every romantic theme (from trust to loyalty to unrequited love) was explored in this intense relationship between the bisexual lawyer and her longtime lesbian lover.
Glee - "I Know Where I've Been"
This heartwarming scene from season six of the hit show -- featuring Unique performing alongside a choir of 300 Trans people -- is certainly one for the books.
Queen Sugar- "Ralph Angel Reunites With Trans Cop"
While searching a dumpster to throw out his son Blue's favorite doll, Ralph Angel is cornered by police who think he might be up to no good. One of the officers happens to be an old friend of Ralphs -- a Transman named Antoine. The pair's exchange is one of the most touching moments in TV history.
This Is Us - "Thanksgiving: Tess Comes Out To Randall"
The young tween's coming out moment marked a cultural shift in television. Young, Black, queer viewers all over the world got to see themselves in Tessa.
Every moment from the innovative show is a great moment in television, especially for Black LGBTQ + viewers who see themselves represented in a way that's never been done before. According to journalist Michael Cooper:
Pose is "giving cis (people whose gender identity matches their physical sex), straight, white America a piece of LGBTQ history and representation that has been absent from the televised zeitgeist in favor of heteronormative stories."
All the Blackness and stellar fashions are just the icing on the cake.