Some were firsts, others were stand-out moments that are still remembered to this day, when a beloved character revealed their sexuality. All of these nine groundbreaking LGBT characters helped to shape America’s cultural fabric.
By Brynn Holland
1934: The Children’s Hour
At the time of the Broadway premiere of “The Children’s Hour,” making any reference to homosexuality on stage was illegal in New York. The three-act drama was set in an all-girls boarding school where a disgruntled, runaway student makes a shocking accusation—that the two headmistress are having an affair. The accusation destroys the women’s careers, relationships and lives. Despite its illegal themes, the play was a huge success. The drama ran for 691 performances at the Maxine Elliott Theatre. The play was a contender for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, but when it lost to “The Old Maid,” the committee was accused of rejecting the play due to the controversial subject (one of the judges had even refused to see it). Angered by the decision, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle was inspired to award its first-ever annual prize for drama the following year.