The Paley Center for Media paid tribute to the LGBTQ community and its influence on television Wednesday, May 15, at The Paley Honors: A Gala Tribute to LGBTQ Achievements in Television in New York City.
From Debra Messing, Judith Light, and Laverne Cox to Wilson Cruz, Don Lemon, and the original Queer Eye cast, the star-studded event brought out some of Hollywood’s brightest stars and trailblazers to celebrate queer representation in connection with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising.
“At this year’s Paley Honors, guests will witness the journey of the LGBTQ+ community, through unforgettable moments in television and a special tribute to the historic event that was a defining moment for the community,” said Maureen J. Reidy, Paley Center president and CEO. “Television as a medium has sparked important conversations around today’s most pressing social issues, and we’re so proud to honor the achievements of LGBTQ+ artists and entertainers at this year’s Paley Honors.”
NewNowNext caught up with as many of our faves as possible to ask them about their fave queer moments in television.
“One of the very first depictions of LGBTQ people was this amazing black lesbian couple on a TV movie called The Women of Brewster Place. It was a dramatic film and it was taken very seriously. And this was the ’80s! It was revolutionary.”
“It would have to be Soap. When Billy Crystal came out as this gay character, I thought it was groundbreaking. And then, of course, Will & Grace changed so many hearts and minds.”
Our Lady J
“When I was growing up, there weren’t any out queer people on scripted film and TV. So, I obsessively watched Madonna videos. And RuPaul’s ’Supermodel.’ When that came out, that changed my life. My cousin called and said, ’Girl, you have to watch this video.’ Also, Dan [Renzi] on Real World: Miami. I had such a crush on him. So, I learned a lot from MTV.”
“I really love the new Queer Eye. I love that the guys are continuing the legacy and taking the conversation to places where it’s really needed.”
“I remember watching the episode when Ellen came out with my family, including my queer older sister, in Plano, Texas. We knew at that moment we were going to be okay, and that our parents were going to be cool.”
“I can’t pick just one. There’s Soap, Will & Grace, Pose, and of course, Transparent.”
“I would say right now just watching Indya [Moore] on Pose. They’re incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it. And what they are doing off-screen is incredible.”