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Out in TV Land: Queer Youth Characters on the Small Screen

A Sampling of Fictional LGBT High Schoolers, Past and Present

June 28, 2013


Justin Taylor

Justin Taylor, Queer as Folk (2000-2005)

Justin (played by Randy Harrison) is the youngest main character from Showtime's groundbreaking series Queer as Folk, a drama about the lives of a group of gay men and women living in Pittsburgh, Pa. When we first meet Justin, he is in high school, and there is tension between him and his parents as he begins the coming-out process. He meets the promiscuous main character of the show, Brian Kinney (Gale Harold), and loses his virginity to him in his senior year of high school, beginning the tumultuous relationship that is at the core of the show's drama.

Justin's deep and abiding love for Brian, and his coming-out process, fuels much of the drama of the show. In the show's five seasons, Justin starts a gay-straight alliance at his high school, gets gay bashed at prom, learns how to use his right hand again after suffering brain damage, creates a gay comic book, protests a homophobic mayoral candidate and an anti-gay statewide law, becomes a go-go boy to pay for art school after his parents kick him out, and tries to anchor the life of his eternally lusting beau, Brian. It's a lot for one character, and a 17-to-22-year-old, to handle. Justin was recognized by as one of the 25 greatest gay television characters of all time -- coming in at number 3.

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