Growing up gay is tough. Queer youth often need role models during the coming-out process -- and they come from all different places. They need stories to emulate, stories of hope, and sometimes stories of despair -- the full gamut.
Thankfully, many notable television shows have used great storytelling and great characterization to present fully realized young gay characters who must come to terms with their own sexuality, find love and adjust to life in the real world while being gay. Yes, even out there in TV Land, it's getting better.
If you were a teen in the '90s, you might have looked up to Rickie Vasquez. In the 2000s, you may have seen Willow Rosenberg's struggle to come out as a witch and a lesbian as parallel situations, or maybe Justin Suarez taught you how to connect more honestly with a gay youth in your family. Though we turn to television for escape, there's also a lot to be learned from the lives of some of television's gay youth, many of whom are portrayed as struggling for their voice, for acceptance and for love.