In our Loud & Proud series, we’re celebrating the way gay culture has influenced, and been welcomed by the entertainment industry, whether it be film, television or music.
There's no doubt that all these fields have played a significant part in bringing us a previously closed world, secretly inhabited by many but seldom discussed in the mainstream. On Wednesday, we asked what different people's EARLIEST memory of a gay storyline or character in entertainment, and the answers were extremely diverse.
Historically, gay storylines and songs preached only to the choir, finding an audience who had to know enough to want to seek it out. But increasingly, it's there for everyone to experience, absorb, be affected by, and with that comes understanding, empathy, acceptance.
To mark this huge and growing influence, we've been asking people to share what they consider to be the singularly most significant moment in gay culture, in terms of impact, reach and effect it had at the time. Here's a snapshot...
"It’s the point at which we see gay people on screen, but that is not why they’re on screen - that’s not the point of the story. Films like ‘Carol’ and ‘Freeheld’ - they’re amazing films, so emotional, and the fact that it just happens to feature two women is completely insignificant. The past few years, with ‘The Danish Girl’ as well, it suggests we’re living in a different society to we were 10 years ago. Hollywood is definitely portraying that we’ve taken a massive step now" - Wayne Dhesi, founder of RUComingOut
"For me, growing up in New Jersey, it was Bruce Springsteen winning the Oscar for writing the song from ‘Philadelphia’. It was just a big deal because the working class people in New Jersey that were avid Springsteen fans, as I am, would be like ‘wow, I guess that’s OK. If Bruce Springsteen is behind it then other people should be" - Willie Garson, actor who played Stanford in 'Sex and the City'
"Laura Jane Grace coming out as trans, trans star Laverne Cox in 'OITNB' (left), emergence of gay hip hop" - Ryan, comedy editor
"'Queer As Folk' getting commissioned as a TV series" - Rebecca, US frontpage editor
"LGBT characters are commonplace on TV and film these days - and quite right too. But for me, a stand-out moment was the introduction of gay couple Colin and Barry in 'EastEnders'. It coincided with me coming to terms with my own sexuality and to see two gay characters on such a huge mainstream soap gave me a glimmer of hope that being gay wasn't the end of the world or something to fear" - Matt, exec editor (entertainment)
"I would probably say that this year has been quite a ground-breaking year for the transgender community. We've got Annie Wallace in our show (above) and Riley Carter-Millington in EastEnders. It's been great and it's got people talking, we've also had Caitlyn Jenner which was an iconic moment for the LGBT community" - Kieron Richardson, Hollyoaks actor
"I'm aware the 'Brookside' lesbian kiss of 1994 for was a big deal. I think Caitlin Jenner coming out was obviously huge, and star like Laverne Cox in 'OITNB' and Rebecca Root in a bunch of things are great" - Louise, assistant news editor
"I think 'Big Brother' has opened our eyes to a lot that we wouldn't have been exposed to before the era of reality TV. The great thing about the show is that it features people from all walks of life you don't always meet day-to-day, and you learn about them, their culture and their struggles. Over the 16 years it's been on air, we've seen so many different people from all aspects of the LGBT community, but Nadia Almanda winning in 2004 I think will always be a stand-out moment, particularly for the trans community" - Ashley, entertainment reporter
"Acknowledgement from the academy for films about LGBT lives - 'Boys Don't Cry' (left), 'Brokeback Mountain' - means now films like 'Carol' are less likely to have 'lesbian' used as a describing word and can just be a film about two women" - Jessie, editorial assistant (blogs)
"Macklemore's performance at the 2014 Grammys where they conducted straight and gay weddings to the song Same Love" - Francesca, videoprogrammer
Madonna's Erotica and Sex book - John, senior director, communications
"It's hard to choose only one moment but I will say 'Brokeback Mountain'. I remember being stunned when I watched it for the first time. The film was nominated for a lot of Oscars and it didn't affect the main actors' careers in a bad way, quite the opposite. It's one of the Academy's biggest injustices (not receiving the Best Picture award) but it was still a box office hit and it was really groundbreaking" - Philippe, videoprogrammer
"UK-wise maybe the pre-watershed lesbian kiss on 'Brookside'. Sadly, I remember it more for it being a major event with quite a large negative backlash but at least it got people talking" - Chris, social media editor
"Perhaps not most significant ever, but certainly of the past few years Conchita Wurst’s emotional victory at Eurovision 2014, and that speech afterwards: ‘We are unity and we are unstoppable" - Daniel, entertainment reporter
HuffPost UK has turned Loud & Proud. We're celebrating how gay culture has influenced and, in turn, been embraced by all fields of entertainment, inspiring cinema-goers, TV audiences, music-lovers and wider society with its wit, creativity and power of expression. Through features, video and blogs, we’ll be championing those brave pioneers who paved the way, exploring the broad range of gay culture in British film, TV and music and asking - what is left to be done? If you’d like to blog on our platform around these topics, please email@example.com with a summary of who you are and what you’d like to blog about.