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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 Suarez

Justin Suarez, Ugly Betty (2006-2010)

Justin Suarez (Mark Indelicato), Betty's nephew, began on Betty a bit too young to be "out" or have a full grasp on his sexuality, but by the end of season 4, after years of "stereotypical gay behavior," including being in the performing arts and being obsessed with fashion, he came out to his family. Justin went through a lot of identity issues throughout the show. After the loss of his father, he tried to be "macho," and ended up finding a mentor in Betty's flamboyant coworker, Marc. Marc helped Justin learn that it's not only OK, but necessary, to be yourself.

Justin, after being bullied at a public high school, was sent by his mom to a private performing arts school. Though he denies being gay for a long time, he develops a crush on his schoolmate Austin, with whom he shares a kiss during a heated argument -- over a girl they both claim to like! Justin's family actually finds out before Justin comes out, due to his mom's fiancé finding Justin and Austin kissing on the porch one night. When his family plans an over-the-top "coming-out party" for Justin, Betty's gay coworker Marc convinces the family to let him come out on his own terms, which he does when he asks his boyfriend Austin to dance with him at his mother's wedding reception.

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