Most of the discussion surrounding LGBT visibility tends to focus on primetime television, which is a place we are continuing to see progress in the amount of positive depictions of lesbian and bisexual characters. But what about daytime TV? Currently, there are only five out women who regularly appear on daytime television, and they are relegated to morning news programs and talk shows. That means we are completely absent from soap operas, game shows and court shows and make up a small minority on the amount of syndicated and daily news daytime line-up.
As one of the most-watched and well-loved hosts on daytime TV, Ellen needs no introduction. But her success at leading the show to 13 years of great ratings and critical raves has given the out lesbian more confidence to talk about LGBT issues and share her life with wife Portia de Rossi on her show, reaching millions of Americans each day. Ellen’s visibility on daytime TV has helped to normalize and humanize lesbians for people who might otherwise disapprove of someone gay, based solely on the fact they don’t think they know anyone who identifies as such. But everyone knows Ellen, and everyone likes her, too. (Ask your Grandma.)
Although she doesn’t appear every morning, Today‘s lifestyle and fitness correspondent has been at NBC since 2007. The mom of two came out in 2013 when she shared live on air that she was pregnant with baby number one with partner Stephanie Gosk. Since then, she’s integrated her life with her family into her work, blogging about her experiences getting back in shape post-pregnancy. Although she doesn’t speak much on LGBT issues, Jenna’s living out and proud as a gay mom and speaking from that perspective is a positive aspect of NBC’s morning programming.
As the beloved anchor of GMA since 1995, the multi-award winning Robin Roberts has shared her public battles with breast cancer, myelodysplastic syndrome, and the significant losses her hometown suffered after Hurricane Katrina. But it was in 2013 that the public was able to learn a little more about the woman behind the news desk, as Robin came out in a Facebook post acknowledging her partner, Amber Laign, who she has now been with for 10 years. Although she keeps her identity out of discussions and interviews on the show (including President Obama’s announcement that he was fully supportive of equal marriage), it is clear that her co-anchors support Robin and the community when they are tackling LGBT topics.
As one of the executive producers and creators of The Talk, the former Roseanne star had a heavy hand in what CBS’s answer to The View would be. The out mom of three has been more and more vocal about LGBT issues as the show has gone on and now, in its fifth season, Sara sits among co-hosts like Aisha Tyler who are strong allies and celebrate her in the excitement of her marriage to Linda Perry and the arrival of their new baby, Rhodes, this past winter.
Raven-Symoné (The View)
One of the newest additions to the revolving cast that is The View, 29-year-old actress Raven-Symoné brings an interesting (and sometimes off-putting) queer perspective to the table with the likes of Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg and Candace Cameron Bure. Although she defies labels, Raven is out as part of the LGBT community and has no qualms about discussing hot topics from her not-so-straight point of view. Most recently, she challenged Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum on his anti-LGBT beliefs and policies. A voice of the millennial generation, Raven is the youngest out woman in daytime TV, which isn’t that surprising considering she got her start on The Cosby Show when she was all of four years old.