Men After My Own Heart: Some of My Favorite Gay TV Characters

Man Smoking Sitting Down

Creating amazing characters is one of my favorite things about writing ManLove. As a bit of a pop-culture junkie, I’ve had no shortage of inspiration of intriguing and amazing characters in books, film, and television. Today, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with ManLoveAuthors some of my very favorites from television over the years. A lot of them are available for instant streaming online, so hopefully you guys can find something to love in these guys, too! 


Brian Kinney (Queer as Folk)

I love both the UK and the US versions of Queer as Folk, but I’m just the teensiest, tiniest bit partial to the American version, if for no other reason than oogling the inhumanly attractive Gale Harold, who plays Brian Kinney in it. I might also add, for anyone interested, that since this show aired on Showtime, there’s no shortage of sex in it, and since my beautiful man-candy Brian is such a notoriously libidinous character, you get to see him super hot and super naked, pretty much in every episode. I have a serious soft spot for the brooding bad boy type, and Brian is all that and more. He’s smart enough to verbally spar with the best of them, loaded enough to always be impeccably dressed, and has that special kind of swagger and bravado that you just know is a coverup for some deep down hurt that is just waiting to be healed. And while I don’t want to spoil for you whether his on-again-off-again boyfriend Justin or his best-friend-with-serious-undercurrents-of-sexual-tension Michael ever manage to penetrate Brian’s steely façade and make an honest man of him, I will say that by the end of the series, Brian proves that there’s definitely more to him than his much-beloved Gucci suits and the most awesome loft apartment in all of Pennsylvania.

Where you can find it: The US version isn’t yet available for instant streaming, but you can find the entire UK series on Netflix Instant Streaming, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu Plus


Rickie Vasquez (My So-Called Life)

Seriously one of the most heartfelt and honest teen dramas ever, My So-Called Life has pretty much been in my pantheon of all-time favorites since it first aired when I was…well, probably too young to understand most of it. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the show centers around fifteen-year-old Angela Chase and her family and friends. Rickie, played by Wilson Cruz, becomes close to Angela after she befriends his best friend, wild child Rayanne Graff. Watching the show today, I realize that Rickie’s amazingly colorful 90s wardrobe, crazy bold dance moves, and hanging out with Angela and Rayanne in the girls’ bathroom between (and during) classes probably marks him as more of a loveable misfit than the coolest kid in school, but watching this show as a wide-eyed eleven-year-old, I would have never guessed it. Throughout the show, the depth of Rickie’s loyalty to both Rayanne and Angela proves over and over again what a big-hearted guy he is, which only makes sadder the difficulties he has fitting in at both school and home. Living with his abusive uncle, Rickie goes through some pretty difficult times (the episodes “So-Called Angels” and “Resolutions” are particularly tear-jearking ones) but rest assured, he finds a place to belong to before the end of the admittedly too-short series.

Where you can find it: Find the complete series on Netflix Instant Streaming, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu Plus


Jack McPhee (Dawson’s Creek)

When Dawson’s Creek first debuted in 1996, I was an angsty, precocious, lovelorn teenager, so this show about a group of angsty, precocious, lovelorn teenagers was pretty much my favorite thing on television. Showing up in Capeside in season two, Jack McPhee (played by Kerr Smith) is introduced as charming and sweet, but a bit goofy and uncoordinated. He doesn’t stay an awkward loner for long, however. Apart from becoming fast friends with Jen Lindley (played by a very young Michelle Williams, who is absolutely as adorable in this show as she is in pretty much everything else she’s ever been in), and the other series regulars, he joins the Capeside High football team as the star quarterback in season three, finds fulfillment volunteering with kids and getting involved in gay activism in season four, and in season five, he pledges a fraternity. Something I really dig about Jack in this show is that although Jack certainly struggles with bullying from peers and his dad disapproving of his sexual identity at various times in the series, there are so many places in which he finds acceptance and so many people who are welcoming of him as an openly gay teen living in a small town. Seeing Jack come out, have his first kiss, and move deftly through a diverse collection of peer groups made me hopeful that my gay friends would encounter as welcoming a world as the one painted on this show.

Where you can find it: Find the complete series online at Netflix Instant Streaming and Hulu Plus


Cheeks (Husbands)

Okay, so technically, Cheeks appears on a webseries, but it’s kind of too amazing to not talk about. Premiering in 2011, Husbands is a show about an openly gay celebrity couple who travel to Vegas to celebrate the passage of a marriage equality amendment and wake up the next morning extremely hungover and, much to their chagrin, apparently married. As celebrities, they fear that the drunken reality of their regrettable spontaneous wedding would be devastating to the cause of gay marriage, so they vow to play the wedding off as “totes planned” and try to attempt a real go at being wed to each other. Apart from the utterly amazing premise, the characters themselves are so completely loveable. Cheeks, played by Brad Bell, is a sassy tabloid personality, and as such gets some of the most amazing one-liners ever. His reactions to his newfound monogamy, often ranging from excitement to terror in a single episode, perfectly capture the giddiness and fear that everyone feels upon finding oneself in a relationship that’s suddenly gone from casual fun to scary serious commitment in a hurry.

Where you can find it: Watch the entire series online at


Kurt Hummel (Glee)

If you haven’t guessed it yet, teen melodramas are one of my guilty pleasures, and Glee is no exception. Since season one, Glee has had a particularly good thing going in the relationship between Kurt (Chris Colfer) and his dad, Burt, a sports-loving auto mechanic whose devotion to his musical-theatre-and-fashion obsessed son knows no bounds. There’s a particularly spectacular moment in season three where, as a graduation present to Kurt, Burt performs a choreographed dance to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” but I think my all-time favorite episode is the one where he delivers the father-son sex talk. Burt’s speech to a terrified (and mortified) Kurt dealt with the specific concerns of a gay male teenager becoming sexually active with both sensitivity and heart. Kurt’s relationship with his dad, his stepbrother, and his bitter-rivalry-turned-best-friendship with Rachel Berry are all high points of the show, but his relationship with Blaine Anderson, a member of a rival, a capella glee club at an all-boys school, has been, by turns, the most squee-inducing and heartbreaking element of the show since its arrival in season two. And while Kurt does graduate from the New Directions at the end of season three, his arrival in New York marks the beginning of his mentorship from Sex and the City’s Sarah Jessica Parker, a partnership every bit as fabulous as Kurt has proven himself to be.

Where you can find it: Watch seasons 1-3 on Netflix Instant Streaming, seasons 1-4 on Amazon Instant Video, and season 4 on Hulu Plus


photo credit: quicheisinsane via photopin cc

One comment

  1. My So-Called Life was my absolute favorite! And Rickie! Dear, sweet Rickie! All these recommendations make me want more! Anyone have others I should check out?? Awesome post, Ellen <3