I grew up watching the series listed and talked about in this article. And to show you how much they influenced or had an impact on me--I could only remember the gay character from Rosanne. While I loved, and watched religiously, 90210, Melrose Place and Party of Five, I could not actively remember those gay characters listed. Still ashamed of admitting my own sexuality, I did take the first leap as a 17-year-old freshman at Northwest Missouri State University, when I wrote my analysis of gay culture portrayed on television in a 2003 editorial. I would later go to attempt launching Nebraska's first full-color, high-gloss LGBT magazine and even years after try again in an online format where I could offer up my own opinions of gay culture in Nebraska.
Hart's analysis is accurate, even to this day. Last year, while the list was large for supporting roles of gay men and women in broadcast television programming, only five leading characters among four shows prevailed. Cable television programming would add an addition of four gay or lesbian characters to leading roles, and countless supporting roles.
Do you believe gay men to still be stereotyped? I would say, of course--stereotypes exist because there are truths to them. I wouldn't say that we are always fairly represented in mainstream media, but a few are fighting to keep some stereotypes at bay. Anderson Cooper and Ellen are prime examples of media leaders that break through the stereotypes provided in fictional programming and showcase a diverse (and inside) look at what being gay really means.
While I have yet to turn on a television today, I am pleasantly surprised to come across a NY Times article that a few Key Republicans announced today their support for gay marriage and the reversal of Prop 8 in California. I hope that news outlets hit this issue hard (as usual as of late), and that the media can again act as a catalyst for positive change in equality and human rights in America.