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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > October 17 > WILL & GRACE

WILL & GRACE

changed gay representation on TV

20 ways

As Will & Grace returns to screens to pick things up after an 11 year hiatus in a very different world, we look back at the show’s most iconic LGBT+ moments.

There was an era of American sitcoms in the 90s that brought ‘being gay’ more prominently into prime time, light entertainment TV. Friends gave us Carol and Susan and the oft-sexually mistaken Chandler; Frasier provided us with a pair of highly metrosexual brothers who liked opera and sherry; and Ellen saw the lead star come out of the closet in an episode that had to be codenamed The Puppy Episode because it was such a big furore.

Where Ellen messed this opportunity up however was in the post-coming out fifth season, where it’s titular character – played by Ellen DeGeneres – was now a fully-fledged lesbian. Rather than Ellen just getting on with being a funny bookstore owner who happened to fancy girls, each episode became another reason to preach the gay word, hence denormalising it and leading to the sitcom’s cancellation.

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About Gay Times

In this issue, we highlight the queer people of colour who continue to fight for equality, justice and visibility all over the world. Fresh from a media firestorm surrounding comments she made about white supremacy, we talk to Munroe Bergdorf about the importance of speaking up; Jason Okundaye about the controversy surrounding his claims about widespread racism in the UK; Bisi Alimi on how only death will prevent him for fighting for the lives of LGBT+ Nigerians; and Travis Alabanza on using performance as a salve for healing. We also look at how activists like Bayard Rustin paved the way for generations of young activists, and how musicians like Sylvester and Ma Rainey set the blueprint for artists like Prince, Beyonce and Rihanna. Allies and media representation continue to play an important role in the modern gay rights movement. Luke Goss speaks on the “absurdity” of having to vote on human rights issues, and we look at how programmes like Will and Grace have had such an enduring impact on the lives of LGBT+ people around the world. Elsewhere in the issue, John Waters on making trouble; drag performer Amrou Al-Kadhi on finding love; openly gay actor and musician Jussie Smollett on his groundbreaking role on Empire; and Charli XCX on her never-ending adoration for her gay fans. Finally, our cover star, Harry Judd, takes us on his journey of battling anxiety and stress with fitness and implores all of us to approach a more holistic approach to our lives and wellbeing. As usual, the issue is packed with style, travel, opinion and politics, and is available to download now.
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