Happy Pride Month 2021! Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the most important, influential and memorable queer moments to have hit the small screen and today, we’re shining a spotlight on some of our favourite television characters who came out to their loved ones.
Here are seven stunning coming out moments from TV characters who audiences love…
7. Eric in Sex Education
Netflix original series Sex Education took all of the rules of a young adult drama, ripped them up and said, ‘we will do whatever the f*** we want and you’ll love it’; and boy, did we!
Ncuti Gatwa takes on the role of Eric Effiong in the show; a young gay man who comes from a highly-religious and deeply-cultural Nigerian/Ghanaian family. When he stands up to his father’s generational hate, he quickly realises that it’s not disgust that his elder holds for him, but genuine fear.
"Your fear doesn't help me, Dad," Eric explains. "It makes me feel weak. This is me.” Though worried that his son will get hurt, his father begins to understand.
“Maybe I am learning from my brave son”, he responds, before giving him a gigantic hug. Not a traditional ‘coming out’ moment, but one that had us crying tears of joy as Eric finally found the acceptance he craved from his father.
6. Santana in Glee
The late Naya Rivera was a force to be reckoned with no matter which role she stepped into, and that of Santana Lopez in Ryan Murphy’s musical series Glee was no different. It was when Santana chose to open up about her sexuality with her grandmother however, that we saw her at her most vulnerable.
"I love girls the way that I'm supposed to feel about boys," Santana started, with an immediate punch to the gut of all those watching who have felt the same way. "It's just something that's always been inside of me, and I really want to share it with you because I love you so much.”
She continued: "I've tried so hard to push this feeling away and keep it locked inside, but every day just feels like a war. I walk around so mad at the world, but I'm really just fighting with myself. I don't want to fight anymore. I'm just too tired. I have to just be me.”
This isn’t a scene with a happy ending. Santana’s grandmother tells her that it is a sin, to get out and to never return. It’s highly-emotional so, keep a box of tissues close if you’re wanting to check it out.
5. Patrick in Schitt’s Creek
For those of us who have had great coming out stories to share, it was nice to see that replicated in Netflix series Schitt's Creek.
When Patrick, played by Noah Reid, told his parents that he was gay, they instantly accepted him and told him that the only thing they were upset about, was that they had done something wrong to make him worried about telling them in the first place. It’s a gorgeous moment where the parents of a gay person instantly take responsibility for anything they may have done in the past to make their child feel less than adored.
"You are the only thing in the world that matters to us," Patrick's mother told him. "And if David makes you happy, then that's all we care about.”
Then looking to his father for approval, he's met with a smile and the comments: "I like him [Patrick's partner David]. I like him a lot.”
4. Robin in Stranger Things
Another Netflix original series here, with Stranger Things and two fan-favourite characters, Robin (Maya Hawke) and Steve (Joe Keery). We watched as the pair got close and some of us even rooted for them to get together but, in a beautiful moment of vulnerability, Robin told Steve about her love for somebody of the same sex.
“Tammy Thompson. I wanted her to look at me. But she couldn’t pull her eyes away from you and your stupid hair. And I didn’t understand, because you would get bagel crumbs all over the floor. And you asked dumb questions. And you were a douchebag. And you didn’t even like her and I would go home and just scream into my pillow.”
Haven’t many of us felt this exact same way during our high school years? Though Steve came out with the stupid response of, “But Tammy Thompson’s a girl,” Robin quickly set him straight with a “well, duh!” stare.
3. Todd in BoJack Horseman
Asexuality is something that isn’t explored very much at all on the small screen, so having Todd say out loud that he is an “asexual person” was groundbreaking, to say the least.
The series, in including this sexuality, helped educate the masses who watch it as to how an asexual person can still fall in love; it’s just a different type of love to the one we’re used to seeing represented.
That feeling of not knowing where you fit is something every single member of the LGBTQIA+ community will feel at some point or another in their life, due to the societal constructs that have been set in place by the generations who have come before us. Fortunately, shows like BoJack Horseman continue to aid in the pulling down of those foundations.
2. Tess in This Is Us
Having a young Black girl come out to her loved ones on This Is Us was perhaps the show’s single most powerful moment. Whilst we see plenty of coming out stories for white people on the small screen, those for Black and minority ethnic audiences are lacking. Seeing Tess (Eris Baker) not only live her truth, but be accepted for it by both her mother and father, was a giant step in the fight for representation.
"Lots of girls have boyfriends, but I don't want one," Tess tells her mother through tears, "It's because I think I might like girls, not boys.” The response is one that will give you goosebumps for all the right reasons.
"We love you no matter what, okay? Look at me. You see me? Look at your Dad. You see him? Do you see anything other than two people who love you more than any two people could ever love anyone in the entire world?”
Another scene that had us reaching for the tissues!
1. Nia in Supergirl
Seeing a female superhero tell the world she is trans is without a doubt one of the most iconic moments of television our generation has ever seen. Supergirl character Nia (played by transgender star and activist Nicole Maines), whilst in her crime-fighting role of Dreamer, spoke as part of a live interview in the show and revealed her truth to the world.
"Growing up wasn't easy," she said. "I am also a trans woman. I'm different, Ms. Danvers, but so is everybody. And I don't know when that became such a bad thing. The greatest gift we can give each other is our authentic selves and sharing that. Sharing our truth is what will make us strong. So, here I am.”
With so many incredible coming out moments on television, we’re sure we’ll hit you with another list before Pride Month 2021 is out!
MORE FROM PRIDE MONTH 2021: Seven LGBTQ+ characters that make us proud to be ourselves