Julie Bowen

When it comes to the portrayal of sexually diverse characters, TV has come a long way in the past two decades. Nowhere was that quite as evident as on the red carpet of the 22nd Annual GLAAD media awards in Los Angeles where stars from such shows as Modern Family, Grey's Anatomy and Nurse Jackie represented the LGBT community in the media. "I want to play my character as honestly as possible," Pretty Little Liars' Shay Mitchell told TV Guide Magazine of her character, Emily, who is out and proud. "For her to really embrace coming out was awesome, and the way that her friends and family accepted her was really important to me." 

Modern Family's Julie Bowen, who accepted one of the awards for Outstanding Comedy with co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson (they tied with Glee), pointed out that it's when we stop taking ourselves so seriously that we know we've progressed. "We've stopped treating it so sensitively and so delicately," she says. "And I think that's a big step forward."

Of course the stars and creators were glad to dish on upcoming episodes, as well.

Sarah Drew may not have had a "moment" in the Grey's Anatomy musical, but she tells us April will not be on the backburner in the next few episodes. "There's some really juicy, fun stuff coming up with April and Stark. Not so much romantic," she teases. And the Season 7 finale, although not as explosive as last year, will not lack drama. "The finale is going to shock a lot of people," she says. "There's a lot of emotional stuff that happens between the characters that you love and the relationships that you love, that's going to turn things on its head. And something happens to my character that will change her future, for the next several seasons. It's very emotionally centered and emotionally grounded. It's not a big external thing that makes everybody freak out, but a lot of different characters are affected in this moment."

Glee may have a supersized Lady Gaga tribute coming up, but not to be outdone, Modern Family has its own episode featuring the reigning queen of pop. "Cam and Mitch have tickets to a Lady Gaga concert and Cam gets sick, and I desperately still want to go," teases Jesse Tyler Ferguson. "So I do everything in my power to get him to let me go, and that might include slightly drugging him a little bit, so maybe he falls asleep. And I sneak out. And Lady Gaga may or may not be on the episode. I'm just kidding. She's not."

Liz Brixius, one of the creators of Showtime's Nurse Jackie, tells TV Guide Magazine that it's wonderful to be able to tell stories about gay characters without being flag-bearers for the cause. "It doesn't feel like we're soldiers for anything anymore, we're just here telling stories that incorporate gay people in organic ways, and that's all I ever wanted," she says. "I didn't want to break ground, I just wanted to be able to coexist with the rest of the world. And a show like this and a group like GLAAD allows that." In an upcoming storyline, Coop's (Peter Facinelli) world will be turned upside down. "The bedrock of Coop's family, the gay mothers — there's upheaval," says Brixius. "We're going to have some problems with Coop and his gay moms, and it destroys him, because parents are parents whether they're gay or they're straight."

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