This is the second Ameriqueer guest column by Ed Anderson of Royal Oak, MI. Ed analyzes the recent trend of including LGBT-positive storylines in Daytime TV—an important way to help introduce our stories to mainstream America. With all of the pro-LGBT storylines on daytime TV, imagine all of the hearts and minds that are changing in Suburbia!
Back in 2000, All My Children dared go where no other daytime soap opera had before; they were allowing a core character to come out of the closet. That character Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel), daughter of the infamous Erica Kane, so this was no ordinary character that would be coming out of the closet. There were hate letters sent in by the hundreds. On the other side of the spectrum though were the hundreds of letters thanking the show for putting on the screen, what they face every single day of their life, showing how scary it is to come out.
Bianca was actually the first for a lot of LGBT issues, she part of the first lesbian (and only as far as I can recollect) kiss on daytime television with her then girlfriend Lena (Olga Sosnovska). She also very briefly dated a transgender Zoe (Jeffrey Carlson). This February once again Bianca dragged All My Children into the 21st century when she wed her partner Reese Williams (Tamara Braun).
Because of Bianca's popularity As The World Turns had one of their major characters Luke Snyder (Van Hansis), come out of the closet. He too became one of the most popular characters on the show. In fact he is one half of the uber-popular NUKE phenomenon. Nuke fans were understandably upset when it took over a year for their couple to kiss and another before they made love. CBS response to the fan outcry was "As The World Turns remains committed to telling the story of Luke and Noah, We continue to tell this and all our stories based on what we think is best creatively. This kiss is the natural evolution of the relationship between Luke and Noah." As told to AfterElton.com.
Even daytime superstars are getting in on the gay love. Crystal Chappell who played Olivia Spencer on the now cancelled Guiding Light was paired with Jessica Leccia who plays Natalia Rivera Aitoro. Otalia (as they are called) was the show's single most popular couple. Critics and fans both have praised the show for the story pacing and the chemistry between the actresses.
Daytime's number one soap The Young and The Restless has also gotten in on the gay band wagon, and caused some controversy in the process. Chris Engen is said to have vacated the role of Adam Wilson because his character was to kiss another male, Rafe as played by Yani Gellman. As viewers know, Adam is only pretending to be gay in order to keep his misdeeds hidden. The show promptly recast with Veronica Mars Michael Muhney, who was embraced by critics and fans almost from day one. They also brought back Phillip Chancellor III and had him come out to his family.
Finally One Life to Live has revealed that Oliver Fish (Scott Evans) and Kyle Lewis (Brett Lewis) shared a sexual past and this Thursday will once again lock lips. KISH as the pair is called is the most buzzed about story in the daytime industry at the moment. Of course this is not One Life to Live's first foray into gay storytelling. Back in the mid –nineties they courageously featured Billy Douglas (played by a then-unknown Ryan Phillippe). The story had Billy dealing with coming out as well as weaving in AIDS in a thoughtful, award winning story.
As we head into the 2010 it is refreshing to see that LGBT characters will be seeing the same type of stories that their straight counterparts have enjoyed for years now.