Openly lesbian designer Kara Laricks came out on top as the winner of the first season of NBC's Fashion Star. Her winning prize is a six million dollar contract with merchandisers Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and H&M to sell her capsule collection designs featured on last night’s finale.
In five separate studies, professor Edward Schiappa and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota have found that the presence of gay characters on television programs decreases prejudices among viewers.
Joanna Johnson, who plays fan favorite Karen Spencer on The Bold and the Beautiful, has decided to publicly come out as a lesbian alongside her character. In a new TV Guide Magazine interview she reveals that she came out to her parents when she was 23 and married the mother of her children, Michelle Agnew, in 2008 during the short time same-sex marriage was legal in California.
Much like President Obama's own position, the latest polls show the country on a whole continues to progressively evolve in its recognition of same-sex relationships, and as Vice President Joe Biden himself has admitted, television programs and popular culture can take quite a bit of the credit.
At a time when gay rights are re-emerging as an election year issue — in part because of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s stated support for gay marriage on Sunday — activists and academics say that depictions of gay characters on television play a big role in making viewers more comfortable with their gay, lesbian and transgender neighbors.