He Did What?!

Charting soap opera’s ongoing love-hate relationships with its gay characters.
August 17, 2012

In today’s episode of Days of Our Lives, out character Sonny Kiriakis—played by the handsome Freddie Smith—deals with an issue garnering national media attention: bullying. “My character does get bullied,” explains Smith. “He got bullied about a year ago and now he’s going to get bullied again.” Soaps—whether in the traditional daytime slot, or the more recent prime time—have long included gay characters, but with Sonny’s most recent bout with onscreen anti-gay violence we couldn’t help but notice the nightmare situations gay soap characters often find themselves in. Here, we‘ve charted a few of the soap world’s homo heroes and the dramatic fates that they have faced.

Sonny Kiriakis

The Show: Days of Our Lives, 1965–present
The Network: NBC
The Drama: Gets beaten up by T because T thinks Sonny “made” Will Horton gay.

Will Horton

The Show: Days of Our Lives, 1965–present
The Network: NBC
The Drama: Girlfriend breaks up with him, “becomes unhinged,” kisses Neil, comes out to his parents.

Eric van der Woodsen

The Show: Gossip Girl, 2007–present
The Network: The CW
The Drama: Attempted suicide, splattered with yogurt, living in London.

Matt Fielding

The Show: Melrose Place, 1992–1999
The Network: Fox
The Drama: The only recurring character to never get a love scene; had his only onscreen kiss edited out; gay bashed on the street and fired from his job.

Rafe Torres

The Show: The Young and the Restless, 1973–present
The Network: CBS
The Drama: The Young and the Restless’s first gay character; seduced by the presumably straight (possibly bi?) Adam Hamilton in order to distract Rafe from Adam’s wrong doings.

Phillip Chancellor III

The Show: The Young and the Restless, 1973–present
The Network: CBS
The Drama: Struggle with alcohol; staged his own death; returned in 2009 to come out; son Chance shot “dead” and placed in the Witness Protection; currently living in Australia.

Michael Delaney

The Show: All My Children, 1970–2011
The Network: ABC
The Drama: Threatened at gunpoint by Jason Sheffield for “turning” younger brother Kevin Sheffield gay; sister killed by J. Sheffield; nearly fired for coming out to his students.

Kevin Sheffield

The Show: All My Children, 1970–2011
The Network: ABC
The Drama: Comes out after his teacher Mr. Delaney comes out; brother Jason threatens Michael Delaney at gunpoint.

Kyle Lewis/Oliver Fish/Nick Chavez

The Show: One Life to Live, 1968–2012
The Network: ABC
The Drama: “Kish”—a combination of boyfriends Kyle Lewis’ and Oliver Fish’s names—is born; ABC releases a statement saying “Kish” were written out of the show because they caused ratings to drop.

Hank Elliot

The Show: As the World Turns, 1956–2010
The Network: CBS
The Drama: Lover Charles is dealing with AIDS diagnosis (largely off screen); head writer Douglas Marland wins a 1990 GLAAD Media Award.

Luke Snyder/Noah Mayer/Dr. Reid Oliver

The Show: As the World Turns, 1956–2010
The Network: CBS
The Drama: Luke is into Noah, but Noah is dating a girl; Noah comes out, the two become a couple, then break up; Luke likes Dr. Reid Oliver; Oliver killed after his car is hit by a train.

Days of Our Lives airs August 22 at 1pm on NBC . Visit nbc.com for more info.