11 of the most groundbreaking LGBT moments ever seen on screen

Remember that Brookside kiss?

Lgbt feature

Earlier this week, we heard that a lesbian couple are set to make an appearance in the upcoming Pixar film Finding Dory, marking an important step forward in the fight for mainstream LGBT representation.

In light of this good news, we decided to take a look back at some big LGBT milestones from the world of TV and film...

  1. 1 The release of Paris is Burning (1990)
    paris is burning
    Source: Miramax

    Jennie Livingston's documentary Paris is Burning looks into the world of the LGBT community and drag scene in 1980s New York. The film focuses predominantly on African-American and Latino men and women from the transgender and gay communities, and examines social issues including racism, homophobia, the AIDS crisis and poverty.

    Paris is Burning proved to be a total revelation upon its release in 1990, stirring conversation from all corners, receiving rave reviews from critics such as Rogert Ebert, and introducing vogueing to the world (forming the inspiration for Madonna's most famous music video).

  2. 2 Tom Hanks' Oscar for Philadelphia (1993)
    philadelphia
    Source: TriStar Pictures

    Directed by Jonathan Demme, this powerful 1993 drama tells the story of a man wrongfully fired from his high-flying legal career after being outed as a gay man dying of AIDS. Tom Hanks plays the lead role of Andrew Beckett with Denzel Washington as the (initially reluctant) lawyer who fights, and eventually wins, his case in court.

    Upon the film's release, certain critics and activists took issue with the relatively "closeted" approach to Beckett's sexuality, but the film's success at the 1993 Oscars brought the discussion around homophobia, discrimination, and the AIDS crisis into the mainstream.

  3. 3 Brookside's lesbian kiss (1994)
    brookside
    Source: Mersey Television

    Popular Channel 4 soap Brookside broke new ground when it aired British TV's first pre-watershed lesbian kiss in 1994. In this famous storyline, popular character Beth (Anna Friel) locked lips with the family nanny Margaret (Nicola Stephenson).

    At the time, the characters were so popular that ratings soared and Anna Friel began receiving huge amounts of fan mail from gay and lesbian viewers. Even today, the moment is still so iconic and celebrated that it was included in Danny Boyle's 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

  4. 4 Hilary Swank's Oscar for Boys Don't Cry (1999)

    Just like Tom Hanks' Oscar for Philadelphia, Hilary Swank's Best Actress award for her turn in Boys Don't Cry (which tells the true story of murdered transgender man [Brandon Teena](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandon_Teena)))) marked an important moment for the trans community.

  5. 5 That sex scene in Queer as Folk (1999)
    queer as folk
    Source: Channel 4

    Like Russell T. Davies' recent series Cucumber, Queer as Folk is celebrated for its frank and unapologetic portrayal of life as an out, sexually active gay man.

    Though the series only ran for one full season and a mini-series, it spawned a successful American remake and is still talked about today. Particularly memorable is one widely discussed scene in which Stuart (Aidan Gillen) has graphic sex with schoolboy Nathan (Charlie Hunnam), and in the process introduces him to a particularly saucy sexual act...

  6. 6 The same-sex teen relationships in Glee (2009-2015)

    Over the course of its six-series run, Glee's gay and lesbian relationships made a huge contribution towards LGBT representation on TV. In the space of six years, we saw Santana and Britney's casual sexual exploits develop into love, and Kurt and Blaine's close friendship evolve into a meaningful romantic relationship. What made these characters particularly pioneering, though, was the fact that they were all teenagers.

  7. 7 Oaken introducing his family in Frozen (2013)

    Though brief, the scene in which Frozen's Anna encounters a jolly Scandinavian shop owner who just happens to have a husband and a family was quietly revolutionary. Though Disney is yet to create LGBT characters who stand at the forefront of their stories, there's something very appealing about a world in which background characters can be gay and it's simply not a big deal.

  8. 8 Captain Raymond Holt in Brooklyn 99 (2013-Present)

    With the creation of Raymond Holt, hit TV comedy Brooklyn 99 did the (seemingly) impossible and created a gay black policeman who evaded every cliché you could possibly throw at him. Holt doesn't fulfil the classic "angry black captain" role popularised by buddy cop films of the 80s and 90s, and neither is he painted as the stereotypically flamboyant "token gay" who tends to crop up in similar TV series.

    The show's excellent writing and Andre Braugher's deadpan performance combine to make Holt not only a fantastic gay character, but also just the best thing about the show full stop.

  9. 9 Laverne Cox's Emmy nomination (2014)

    When it comes to LGBT representation, diversity, and tackling contemporary social issues, Orange is the New Black kinda ticks all the boxes. As well as portraying numerous women of colour and depicting lesbian relationships in frank detail, the series has also made huge strides for the transgender community.

    Perhaps most groundbreaking has been the mainstream success of Laverne Cox, the transgender actress who plays trans woman Sophia Burset on the show. In 2014, Cox was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the role, marking the first time ever that an openly transgender person had received a nomination in that category. Good on ya, girl.

  10. 10 Tangerine premiering at Sundance (2015)

    Tangerine caused a stir when it was released for two main reasons: the fact that it was filmed entirely on iPhones, and the fact that it featured two trans women in the lead roles.

    The film tells of a trans sex worker called Sin-Dee who gets out of a prison on Christmas Eve after a short sentence to discover that her boyfriend/pimp has been cheating on her with another woman. The film then follows the exploits of Sin-Dee and her friend Alexandra as they go about their day; Sin-Dee trying to track down the woman her boyfriend is cheating with, and Alexandra preparing for a musical performance later that evening.

    The film was praised not only for its subject matter and casting, but for its gleeful comedic tone. In fact, it's just a bloody great film.

  11. 11 Transparent's award wins (2015-2016)

    Transparent is a brilliant TV series for a number of reasons, not least because it marks a huge step forward for the mainstream representation of LGBT characters. The series tells the story of Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor), a retired professor who - at the start of the series - outs herself to her family as a trans woman.

    Not only does the series feature several trans actors in supporting roles, it also depicts several complicated lesbian and bisexual relationships and tackles the issues facing the trans community with an incredible amount of wit, nuance and insight. What's more, it's absolutely hilarious.

    It's no surprise then, that Transparent has nabbed numerous awards since it first aired in 2014. Here's hoping the show's well-deserved success encourages other production companies to follow suit and start making more films and TV series that put LGBT characters front and centre. We'd certainly like to see more.

    Feature image © Amazon Studios/Ryan Murphy Productions/Mersey Television