We've come a long way, babies. In the years since All in the Family introduced the first gay character in primetime TV, there's now Pose, an acclaimed FX drama featuring the most transgender series regulars ever.
As we kick off Pride Month 2019, it's time to look back at how far TV has come since the days of Soap and That Certain Summer. With more content platforms than ever, like streaming platforms Netflix and Hulu, representation on screen will only increase. Take Ryan O'Connell's Netflix series Special. The new acclaimed comedy, created by and starring O'Connell, is semi-autobiographical and follows a gay man with cerebral palsy. You wouldn't see that on network TV in the 1970s and you'd be hard pressed to find it on a major network now, in 2019.
"When we first went out with Special, my agents said they were gonna go to network and I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? The gay CP version on ABC?! They'll f--king buy it ‘cause it's chic, and then they'll be like, "What did we just buy"' And then they'll kill it.' Things that I get excited about exploring — the sexuality of a disabled person and their wants and needs — you can't do that on a f--king network," O'Connell told Vulture.
"I'm so happy and blessed because I feel like the stories of marginalized people get told on Verizon f--king go90 or Awesomeness TV. I was really nervous that Special was gonna air on an abandoned oil rig in Marina del Rey and you were gonna need a DNA sample to get access to it. I wanna reach as many people as possible because if this show had come out when I was a teenager, it would've saved my f--king life. When you don't see yourself being reflected back at you, you're implicitly told that you don't matter. That your life does not matter, it's not worth being told, it's not worth being discussed. And that f--ks with you on such a deep level. By the way, you don't have to have cerebral palsy to relate to my story. Any gay guy who doesn't feel they fit the mold or that they're fit enough — which, spoiler alert, is all gay men — can relate. I know it sounds corny, but I really hope this story helps people. This business is so f--ked up and arduous, it's such hell, that I cannot imagine doing anything that's not worthwhile or meaningful. That's why I'm here. Not to sell a story about some girl with magical bangs to ABC," O'Connell continued.
Below, relive LGBTQ TV history. Be sure to watch E! News at 7 p.m. for more Pride Month celebrations.