Jase Peeples, the entertainment editor for The Advocate wrote an opinion piece about the lasting impact of seeing a gay teenager on television, Billy Douglas from One Life to Live, a character he could identify with. He writes:
By the time the school day ended and the bus arrived at my stop, my usual fast-paced walk had become a full-blown sprint until I burst through the front door of our home and slammed my finger down on the play button of our VCR. For the next hour I sat mesmerized as the story of Billy Douglas, the first gay teen I had ever laid eyes on, began to unfold in my living room. Played by a 17-year-old Ryan Phillippe, Billy was nothing like the “perverted homosexuals” who were the subject of church sermons and countless warnings I’d heard from my family. Instead, he was a handsome, kind, and sincere young man whose hopes and fears were unbelievably similar to my own.
Read the entire piece on Advocate.com.