Drop Dead Diva, the three-time GLAAD Media Award-nominated legal comedy, will air its penultimate episode on Sunday. Jane Bingum, portrayed by Brooke Elliott, will defend a transgender elementary school student in the episode "Identity Crisis." The Lifetime show, which began airing in 2009, has a long history of including a diverse range of LGBT characters and stories. Here are some of those memorable episodes:
"Queen of Mean" (Season 2, Episode 8) Nominated for Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character) at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, "Queen of Mean" featured transgender actress Candis Cayne. Her portrayal of Allison Webb, a transgender woman caught up in a feud with her in-laws over her deceased partner's property, allowed the show to educate audiences on real-life discrimination faced by LGBT people.
"Prom" (Season 3, Episode 5): Recipient of GLAAD's Outstanding Individual Episode Award at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, "Prom" was inspired by the story of Constance McMillen, the teen at the center of a controversy in a Mississippi high school when administrators refused to allow her to take her girlfriend with her to prom. After cancelling the prom and asking parents to organize a separate and still exclusionary prom, McMillen's story made national news with GLAAD's help. The episode follows the process McMillen undertook to bring attention to the school's discriminatory practices, and also featured out guest stars Wanda Sykes, Lance Bass and Clay Aiken.
"Family Matters" (Season 4, Episode 11): This episode addressed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) ban on sperm donations by gay and bisexual men. In the episode, a man who is fighting for visitation rights with his biological child sees his chances of caring for his son drastically reduced based on the fact that he is a gay man who donated sperm. The episode highlights the 2005 ban which cited intercourse between two men as a “risk for sexually transmitted diseases.” The FDA also prohibits gay and bisexual men from donating blood. The ban on blood donations has been in place since 1983 and was upheld in November 2010.
"Secret Lives" (Season 5, Episode 5): Nominated at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Individual Episode, this episode tackled the issue of LGBT people in sports. When a closeted baseball player is arrested on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend, he must make a decision between staying silent or coming out and acknowledging he was with his boyfriend at the time. Jane defends him in court as he struggles with the decision and what being out could mean for his career.
GLAAD appreciates the way Drop Dead Diva has told LGBT stories and allowed its audience to learn more about our lives. You can watch the series penultimate episode this Sunday on Lifetime at 9 p.m. EST.