The Golden Girls' Gay Journey – From Coming out to Marriage Equality

The Golden Girls' Gay Journey – From Coming out to Marriage Equality

Have you ever seen the episode of the Golden Girls that explained marriage equality to America — over two decades before it was legalized? The show did …



37 Comments on “The Golden Girls' Gay Journey – From Coming out to Marriage Equality”

  1. I recall one of my best friends in University in the 80s, trying to come out to his parents, he was the only boy of five siblings, the youngest, Filipino and Catholic.

  2. Its funny I am not gay but I love watching videos like this and Needs More Gay from Rantasmo. I just like seeing how these things were handled and learning the history involved I guess.

  3. I haven't seen all your videos, but I would like to see some videos on Ellen (the sitcom – 1994 I think? but specifically starting with The Puppy Episode.) Along with Xena and Buffy. People were responding to these cultural milestones in very visceral ways – especially in my little slice of suburban cornbread in the heart of dixie. This was during the same time that people were literally banning Harry Potter books because they promoted witchcraft – probably only spreading the word (like wildfire? too much?) and making the most popular children's book franchise of all time.

    Rosie O'Donnell was frequently the butt of a joke, because she was fat, I guess, and also "crazy," and she didn't look very ladylike. "Rosie O'Donnel" was synonymous with ugly, and frankly I didn't understand why people were being so mean to the lady who was going on Slimetime live and didn't even act mad when she was being Slimed.

    I heard some kids go like, "Did you hear about Ellen Degeneres? She came out. SHE'S GAY!" They were very mad, very scandalized, frankly kind of scary, and also maybe 8 or so, and I wasn't entirely sure they knew what "gay" meant, so they were probably just parotting their parents, but I didn't feel like it was safe for me to even be an "ally" in that moment.

    Xena and Gabrielle were a frequent topic of conversation, and a popular take was that they were just very good friends. Close friends. Best friends who are explicitly called soulmates. And who kissed 2-3 times. Girls are just really affectionate with each other sometimes.

    When I was 10 (which must've been '99), I kissed my best friend, and then we never talked about it again, but I could never, ever stop thinking about it. On that same day, I turned on the TV after school, and I saw Xena and Gabrielle's very platonic kiss of pure friendship. In Xena and Gabrielle, I saw myself and my best friend. Kinda looked like true love, but according to some people, totally normal girl stuff. So cool. I wasn't gay or anything. Whew! That was a close one!

    It was a confusing time with a lot of different messages floating around about gay people, but when I was 12 (This would've been in 2001,) my mother introduced me to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not even remotely aware that she was about to change my life. Even though I wasn't fully aware of why I identified with her, Buffy was clearly queer coded – torn between a desire for a normal life and embracing her destiny and power as the Slayer, the most powerful girl in the world. In the preceding film that's her backstory, she was told that she had to keep that identity a secret to protect everyone she loves. But unexpectedly, she has to use her powers to save Xander and Willow, and she has to tell them her secret.They have a little trouble coming to terms with it, but instead of running away from her dangerous and scary secret life, they're determined to help her face it in any way she can, even if they don't have superpowers like her.

    And then there's Willow and Xander. They're like the embodiment of the anxieties of every teenager. Like Buffy, they're trying to figure out who they are, and who they want to grow up to be, and try to gain some confidence in themselves.

    Eventually, Buffy has to come out to her mom as a Slayer – and Joyce needs some time to deal with it "I'm not ready to march in the Slayer pride parade," but eventually she comes to understand that this is just who Buffy is, and she didn't get to choose her destiny.

    And then, when I was least expecting it, Willow was finding this beautiful, pure love with Tara, and in the moment she tells Buffy why she's so confused about her old boyfriend coming back, and it hits Buffy what Willow is trying to say to her, Buffy is thrown off, and I am incredibly tense, because for some reason I think Buffy is the physical manifestation of every friend I've ever had in this moment, and she doesn't really know how she feels about it, but she says and she knows that she loves Willow and she wants her to be happy no matter what.

    Buffy eventually explicitly tells Tara's abusive family that was trying to make her believe she was evil – literally a demon – that Tara's got a new family, and one that would love her even if she was a demon.

    At one point Willow turns literally evil, deeply hurts all of them (physically), goes on a murder rampage and wants to destroy the world, and they still want to save Willow, and even when she's trying to (again, literally) destroy the world, and Buffy's given up on her, Xander, with no powers, still goes to Willow and he reminds her that he loves her and he always will no matter what.

    And at that moment, I didn't really fully know why, but I just broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. Because if Xander could love Willow that much, than maybe someone could love me that much. Even if I might be "kinda gay."

  4. Coming out is never easy no matter if you're gay, lesbian or even asexual like me. When I tell people I'm asexual, I'm often confronted with misconceptions.

    – So you're straight but you just don't like sex.
    -You're actually a lesbian but you don't accept yourself so you're repressing your sexuality.
    -Ok, but for real do you prefer men or women?
    – Someone must have hurt you in "that way" and that's why you're terrified of sex.
    – You're just saying that because it's hype.

  5. "That's still the case for a lot of people" it's me, I'm a lot of people. And unfortunately I have proof in my uncle's distance from my family that I'm not overreacting

  6. When I was a kid a remember my first exposure I had to homophobia. I was watching a show, I forget the name, that was fictionalized family court cases and it was the focus of an episode. I was baffled by it, while I was raised Catholic my parents have always been pro lgbt, and honestly I still am. I’m Christian now and I don’t care what gender you love or are attracted to just be ethical about it (consenting, no kids, don’t cheat… same as if your straight)

  7. My uncle Paul was Gay. He died of auto immune syndrome complications in 1996 aged 40. So I saw first hand all his struggles with acceptance. Saw all the jokes and intolerance of others. I still talk to his former boyfriend. He is family to us. Hopefully we can move past all this intolerance that seems to have reared its ugly head again. I can only lead by example. Pointing out bigotry and supporting my friends who are gay.

  8. I don't really think of these characters as "little old ladies". I mean, they're seniors, of course, but they work, they date, they have sex, they try new things, they're active in the community, they have fun, their mental acuity is good, they eat several pounds of cheesecake per week and don't get fat. They're doing better than most of us.

  9. Clay is played by the very popular actor Monte Markham. From the mid-sixties on he appeared in dozens of TV series and many movies. From Mary Tyler Moore to HAwaii Five-O, Melrose Place to Dallas to Fringe. Doug is played by Michael Ayr, who worked in TV through the 80s into the early 90s, and also appeared on Broadway a few times in the 80s.

  10. Appreciate the video and getting a glimpse into the 80s (since I was born after that). But for the love of god, as one get to another, that outfit you’re wearing is just way too gay.

  11. The Golden Girls, a show focussing on elderly women, was the most progressive US show of its time. It showed ageing as a joyful, even if tedious at times, experience, women being active, sexually active, past the age of 60, and was fiercely pro-ga, when it really was not trendy.
    As a gay man I will never forget what they did for people, for us!

  12. I am afraid to say that in 2019 if one of my siblings came out today my Dad would probably quit talking to them 🙁 he said once he just doesn't know what they would have to talk about. Like you can only talk to your children through some sort of weird sexual orientation lense.

  13. "…Rose, who puts on full make up and jewelry to read a cat magazine alone by herself." I might be way off base here but I notice that with a lot of people in that age group. My own grandma is 90 and she does her hair, make up and jewelry everyday even if she just sits and watches TV. It was a mind set of something a person just did when she got up. And I could never imagine my late grandpa lounging around in his pajamas watching a movie on the couch. He'd watch a movie on the couch, but he'd be fully dressed, shaved and put together to do it.

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