Gay characters in soap operas are now more common place and that's because of good storylines and actors, rather than silly melodrama. The following is one of the first and best:
Ryan (Philippe) appeared on One Life to Live during the summer of 1992. Ryan's role was a breakthrough one: daytime television's first gay teenager. Ryan plays Billy Douglas, newcomer to the town of Llanview. Billy is reluctant to tell anyone of his homosexuality, especially his parents. He is able, however, to confide in the town's pastor, Andrew. And then, due to the scheming of a woman Andrew scorned, rumors fly around town, that the pastor is a homosexual and has made advances on Billy. The town quickly displays it's homophobia, with Billy's parents leading the way, demanding for the removal of Reverend Andrew from the parish. Upon witnessing the town's reaction Billy is now even more afraid to reveal his secret. Yet his silence only draws Andrew into deeper criticism. It all comes down to a dramatic moment when the town meets at the parish where Andrew gives a riveting speech on the disease of prejudice and homophobia. Billy takes a public stand, against his father and in support of Andrew.
Past Know Your LGBT History posts: