The primetime lineup of fairly staid shows into American homes started with 4 television networks NBC, ABC, CBS, and erstwhile Dumont in 1948, with shows like I LOVE LUCY which eventually paved the way for family drama and interpersonal relationships. Yet it was far from reflecting the fact that not all relationships are heterosexual.
The story of this evolution goes far to the mid of 1895. It all started with two men dancing together in the William Kennealy Dickson motion pictures The Dickson Experimental Sound Films labeled ad Gay Brothers.
From the beginning of this evolution, homosexuality was depicted through gender-based conventions and stereotypes. The flamboyant, effeminate, humorous characters of a male character were oftentimes identified as a gay character.
Soon in the Great Depression in the 1930s as filmmakers produced high shock value themes to prompt people to return to the theatre lead to the inclusion of more controversial topics which eventually raised debates regarding the negative effect these films could leave on American society. United States Supreme Court ruled that films did not have First Amendment Protection, several governments passed laws restricting the public exhibition of “indecent” or “immoral” films. Eventually, the danger of church-led boycotts pressured the leadership within the film industry to establish national censorship, which became the Motion Picture Production Code.
At first, the gay characters on screen came to be represented as villains or victims who committed crimes due to their homosexuality. During the II world war and the subsequent cold war, Hollywood increasingly depicted gay men and women as sadists, psychopaths, and anti-social villain. The censorship code gradually became liberalized 1950s-60s, until it was replaced by the current classification system established by the Motion Picture Association of America. Still, it was considered as a miserable, suicidal misfit.
Even after all the critics and criticism and the miserable conditions of gay characters they became more and more common since 1997. The increase introduction of gay characters in show like Spin City, ER, Buffy the Vampire Layer.
The new era of independent films started with the New Queer Cinema in the 1990s, with this the homosexuality was now started to see a different attitude toward itself. Now the homosexuality was not treated as a mental illness or a gay character as a miserable victim. They were treated as a normal part of the industry and a minority group.
Brokeback Mountain was a major benchmark on the homosexual cinema. Soon the fight for gay rights began and it paved the path for the acceptance of LGBT in different aspects of American society and the film industry.
No longer it fell-out of morals to accept two men or women fall in love with each other in a film, the comfort level began to increase and the condition of homosexual characters improved with the course of time.