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25 LGBT Characters Who Made A Difference To People's Lives

We asked readers for the characters who helped them understand who they are.

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There aren't enough LGBT characters on television, but we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the ones who helped them realise their sexuality. Here's who they suggested...

1. Willow (Alyson Hannigan) in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Mutant Enemy Productions / 20th Century Fox

The show: A drama about vampires and demons that fucking rocked.

"Her relationship development with Tara [above left] was beautiful and on point. It felt like they came together naturally without compromising who Willow was as a person, and I still ship them forever."

– Suggested by katsby0105

2. John Paul (James Sutton) and Craig (Guy Burnet) in Hollyoaks

Channel 4 / Lime Pictures

The show: A British soap opera, aimed mainly at teenagers.

"Just after my 14th birthday, I was watching Hollyoaks in the living room. This wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, and my mum happened to be watching it with me at the time. At the time, there was a ‘groundbreaking’ storyline surrounding a ‘will they, won’t they’ romance between John Paul and Craig.

"In this episode, John Paul has spilled his feelings to Craig. It was at this moment, as John Paul tried to leave via the back door, face burning with shame and confusion, that Craig chased him out the door. Then Craig, in a moment of passion, grabbed John Paul by the head and kissed him.

"I heard my mother clear her throat behind me and say: 'Jack, when are you bringing your boyfriend home?'

"To which I turned my head to regard her, haughtily retorting: 'When I get one.'

"Cue the classic ‘downaniddilynownownow’ sound of Hollyoaks ending, and I think that rounded off my ‘coming out’ quite nicely."

johnanthonyroberth

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3. Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Fremulon / Fox

The show: A sitcom about police detectives working in Brooklyn.

"It’s only in recent years I’ve even been willing to tell other queer people my true sexuality. Seeing Stephanie Beatriz be so open about her bisexuality online has been a great confidence booster. When they made her character, Rosa Diaz, bi, I decided to come out to my family and my best friend, because if Rosa Diaz can come out like it’s no big deal so can I. (But it actually was a big deal, so I’m glad everyone took it well.)"

kare4mexico

"So many storylines about coming out focus on teens or college students; this was the first time a character’s story felt close to mine. And the fact that they actually had her use the word 'bisexual' is huge! No 'I don’t like labels' beating around the bush. I love that show so much."

lily9

4. Jack (Kerr Smith) in Dawson's Creek

The WB / E4 / Sony Pictures Television

The show: An American teen drama that was huge in the late ’90s.

"His coming out was mindblowing to me. Never had seen anything like it on TV. Up until watching this I never even thought about coming out myself and having a 'normal' life. I still tear up if I think about that scene where he's all 'I didn't ask to be gay.' It killed me, because it put in words what I was feeling at the time."

– Tom, Facebook

"It also portrayed how accepting yourself and coming out to close ones is one thing, but to put yourself out there to begin dating and allowing yourself to find romance is a whole other obstacle most LGBTQ people have to deal with – and it's not always easy."

jrmybr93

5. Isak (Tarjei Sandvik Moe) in Skam

NRK

The show: A Norwegian teen drama that became huge on the internet.

"I could relate. You could see he knew it deep down but was burying and hiding it as best he could, something I started doing from a very young age. It was very encouraging and helpful to see his road to acceptance."

rosaw4c34d7795

6. Ellen (Ellen DeGeneres) in Ellen

ABC / The Black/Marlens Company

The show: A ’90s sitcom that was one of the first shows featuring an openly gay character on US network television.

"For me, it was definitely Ellen. I was still in high school and it was not long after the death of Matthew Shepard happened. I still remember when she came out to speak about what happened and said, 'This is why I did what I did.'

"It gave me the courage to stand up and be proud of myself for all those who had suffered from so much hate."

kennyl4c70021e3

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7. Titus (Tituss Burgess) in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Eric Liebowitz/Netflix

The show: A comedy-drama, created by Tina Fey, available on Netflix.

"Seeing someone who was openly gay and so confident about it really helped me come to terms with my own sexuality and inspired me to come out. Although my parents did not take it well, I have no regrets whatsoever."

– Kevin, Facebook

8. Adam (Jordan Todosey) in Degrassi: The Next Generation

MTV / Epitome Pictures

The show: A Canadian teen drama set in a community school.

"It wasn’t until I was 19 that I started to question my own gender identity. I finally came out when I was 21 and I still think back to Adam and his story."

samuelw4abb07710

"Adam from Degrassi helped me come out as transgender, and also helped with my name choice!"

adamlemieux

9. Santana (Naya Rivera) in Glee

20th Century Fox Television / Fox

The show: A drama where all the characters cover popular songs.

"I could relate to the scene where she came out to her abuelita [her grandmother] who didn't accept her and how she was outed at school. She was basically pushed out of the closet and it was similar to what I went through."

yungprince

"Santana Lopez, thank you."

shelbydimick

10. Adena (Nikohl Boosheri) in The Bold Type

Freeform / The District / Via pixel.nymag.com

The show: A comedy-drama set around three friends in New York City.

"She's the first and only Persian lesbian I've ever seen on a TV show. If she can be so out and proud with her sexuality and culture, why can't I?"

– Suggested by khakazit213

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11. Bill (Pearl Mackie) in Doctor Who

Ray Burmiston / BBC/ BBC Worldwide

The show: A box that is bigger on the inside than the outside.

"That representation of a lesbian character in a TV show that was kid=friendly really helped. I was able to say to my family, 'Look, here’s someone who’s like me.'"

lucyt4d26ae8a3

12. Callie (Sara Ramirez) in Grey's Anatomy

ABC Studios

The show: An American medical drama, set in Seattle.

"Watching her struggle and come to terms with being attracted to both men and women, and realise that it is okay and valid, helped me start exploring and accept my own feelings and sexuality."

– Sam, Facebook

13. Korra (Janet Varney) and Asami Sato (Seychelle Gabriel) in The Legend of Korra.

Nickelodeon Animations Studio

The show: An anime-style kids' show that aired on Nickelodeon.

"The fact that both of them are bisexual not only offered an explanation for how I had been feeling, but also validated my sexuality. Not to mention, it was all on ‘kids'’ show! Representation is so important."

– Katherine, Facebook

14. Justin (Mark Indelicato) in Ugly Betty

Ventanarosa Productions / Ugly Betty

The show: A drama about a woman who, despite not being fashionable at all, lands a job at a fashion magazine.

"I already knew that I was gay, but they helped me to contextualise it and to worry less that it meant my life was over before it started."

benwmfranklin

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15. Sailor Neptune (Masako Katsuki) in Sailor Moon

TV Asahi / Madman Entertainment

The show: A Japanese anime, adapted from famous manga books.

"Here she was: this ultra-cool, confident, unabashedly feminine lesbian who everyone wanted to be. It also helped that while shows like Ellen weren’t allowed in my house, Sailor Moon flew under the radar."

thescythian

16. Shane (Katherine Moennig) from The L Word

Showtime

The show: A drama following a group of lesbians, which ran on Showtime in the late ’00s.

"It was Shane from The L Word that helped me realise I was trans and that it was OK."

– Suggested by graysonm4c9e2a968

17. Amy (Rita Volk) in Faking It

MTV / Viacom Media Networks

The show: A comedy-drama that ran on MTV and was cancelled in 2016.

"Faking It really helped me figure out my feelings in college. I knew I had always had these feelings throughout my life, but I didn’t quite understand them. Amy’s journey in Faking It felt a lot like mine. I went through a dark period when I was figuring out my sexuality and this show made me see that the way I was feeling was perfectly normal. It also taught me that I wasn’t stuck with just one label. I could identify as whatever I want or say screw labels all together."

saraelizabethb439ed551d

18. Kurt (Chris Colfer) in Glee

20th Century Fox Television / Fox

"I was raised in a Christian home by my grandmother and one of the ways we bonded was by watching TV together. One night, we're watching Glee together and there's a scene where Kurt came out to his father. My grandmother said, 'It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out he's a faggot.' It upset me so much.

"I tried explaining to her why it wasn't okay to call people 'faggots', but it was like talking to a brick wall, and I was so frustrated that I started to cry. My grandmother condescendingly then asked, 'What, are you gay?' And then I said, 'No, but I like girls.'

"And that's the story of how Kurt from Glee helped me come out to my family as bisexual. She's now much more accepting of my sexuality and no longer uses that word."

quetta

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19. David (Daniel Levy) in Schitt's Creek

CBC Television / Not a Real Company Productions

The show: A Canadian sitcom, following friends and families around a place called Schitt's Creek.

"The pansexual character David Rose on Schitt’s Creek helped me come to terms with my sexuality – something I had wrestled with for my entire life. Many thanks to Dan Levy for bringing to life something that actually made a difference, even though I’m just one person."

davidcrose89

20. Elena (Isabella Gomez) in One Day at a Time

Mike Yarish/Netflix

The show: A sitcom about a Cuban-American family, which you can watch on Netflix.

"I related to her hugely even before her coming out, and it was so realistic that I cried when it was finally revealed."

akikagami

21. Maxxie (Mitch Hewer) in the British version of Skins

Company Pictures / E4

The show: A British teen drama and a launchpad for two Oscar-nominated actors (Dev Patel and Daniel Kaluuya).

"I came out to my parents after binge-watching it one summer and deciding I wanted to be him."

@MJRgrs

22. Yael (Jamie Bloch) in Degrassi: Next Class

ABC / Windsor & Johnson Productions / Via youtube.com

The show: A different Canadian teen drama set in Degrassi Community School.

"Yael helped me come out as nonbinary. I just related to them so much as a high school student and their story was as if it was mine."

dsdorso

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23. Justin (Randy Harrison) in Queer as Folk USA.

Showtime / Cowlip Productions

The show: An American remake of the British drama following gay friends.

"His character was only a few years older than me when I first saw him. Before him, most gay characters were a bit PG. He was the first honest portrayal of a gay teen that I ever saw. I figured if Justin could do it, I could too!"

– Brent, Facebook

24. Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) on The Good Wife

CBS / CBS Television Studios

The show: An American legal drama that ended in 2016.

"She's bi, like me, but her sexuality doesn't define her character. A lot of shows with queer representation are aimed at a younger audience. It was important to me to see myself on a show my parents watch."

– Helene, Facebook

25. And Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) in the "San Junipero" episode of Black Mirror

Laurie Sparham/Netflix

The show: A show where usually everything is horrible and makes you fear for humanity's future, the exception being this amazing episode.

"I am already out as bisexual, but Kelly from the "San Junipero" episode of Black Mirror was instrumental in helping me to finally feel like my sexuality was valid and felt by other people. I knew this rationally, but for some reason, seeing it actually represented in a television show, and represented so accurately, was amazing."

– rebecca0815

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Note: Some entires were edited for length and/or clarity.