Coming out is the biggest milestone for queer people. It never tells the same story. It could be in a get your Kleenex ready level, but it could also be a moment you’ll laugh about eventually. Regardless of how the story goes, it always ends the same way —freedom. Don’t believe us? Just ask your favorite LGBTQ+ characters from your binge list!
For Pride Month, we’re looking back on these pivotal coming out moments on TV that make us rethink what the phrase really means.
It could get scandalous (Lito Rodriguez from Sense8)
Where do we start with this superb fictional Mexican action star whose middle name is extra? Lito’s character is kind, fun, tough, and gay as sprinkles. That being said, he never started as out nor proud of it at all. Being a renowned action star in Mexico, he avoided it the topic of his sexuality as much as he could. This was regardless that he’s in a loving, healthy relationship with his partner.
Everything spun out of control when he was outed by the tabloid leaking his lewd photos. This is when he decided, eventually, to come out on his own terms.
It starts a needed conversation (Lena Waithe from Master of None)
Let’s try to forget about our mixed feelings for Aziz Ansari just this one. Without Master of None, we’ll never have been blessed with Lena Waithe playing Denise. She is a scene-stealer. With her witty one-liners and undeniable charisma, she’s the woman that our gay hearts deserve, queer people of color especially. But what truly etched her in our minds is her coming out arc in “Thanksgiving.”
“Being gay isn’t something black people love to talk about,” young Denise confessed in a flashback scene. The episode not only moved us to tears, but it also moved the culture.
It opens you up to people (Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Rosa is an unapologetic bad-ass. She’s also a woman of mystery in the funniest way possible. With no one knowing much about her life, except that she lives near the precinct and its off limits to her closest friends, she slowly opened up as the season progressed. A huge moment for her was when she came out to her squad as bisexual.
Her coming out arc was a rollercoaster, especially when she came out to her parents. It goes to show how even someone as strong as her finds coming out of the closet difficult. That’s what makes her arc both comforting and a tear jerker at the same time.
It’s a first step to growing up (Elena from One Day at a Time)
Seeing the topic of coming out in an American sitcom might’ve been weird if it’s in another century. The show One Day at a Time is here to continue to normalize the hell out of it. 15-year-old Elena’s coming out arc received mixed reactions from its viewers, but what this young queer character proved to defy those. Her arc shows the positive what if of confronting your family about your sexuality.
This arc was groundbreaking for the Latino community as well, to say the least. “[Coming out] doesn’t have enough of a voice, especially in the Latino community. We’ve never seen a 15-year-old girl come out on television before,” said Calderon Kellet in an interview with E!
It could be a big musical number (Darryl Whitefeather)
There is a drought of bisexual people in our TV screens until recently, especially for bisexual men. Thank God for Darryl Whitefeather by being out and proud in the best way possible. Have you ever thought of coming out through a big musical number? Too late. He already has pulled it off big bi flag in the back and sax solo included. We often see tearjerkers in coming out stories, so to see a coming out arc as fun and hilarious as this is very much needed.
Want to find out our honorable mentions? Watch it here as a tearjerker compilation from our friends in Netflix (break out the Kleenex).