Gay Icon Nominee: Whoopi Goldberg

We’ve seen a noticeable rise in recent years in terms of Lgbt visibility in Hollywood, but if you flash back even ten years ago—let alone twenty or thirty—the number of “out” performers and gay film and TV projects dwindles markedly. This was the Dark Ages, when Hollywood brought out maybe one movie a year with a gay character (who hopefully didn’t die or wasn’t a stereotype), and maybe one or two art-house films that broke through the clutter. Things began to improve in the 90’s, but it’s largely been since the age of reality television and the rise of cable over the past 15 years that we’ve really begun to see a more realistic breadth and scope of gay life being portrayed in a wide variety of ways.

Before that however, there were a handful of brave performers who—though not necessarily gay themselves

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