Just 21 years after Ellen DeGeneres risked — and lost, temporarily — her career in Hollywood with that famous Ellen coming out story in 1997's "The Puppy Episode," representation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer people has come a long way; 2017 marked a record number of LGBTQ people represented on TV.
Even though there's still work to do in how LGBTQ people are presented, there's a lot to celebrate because, well, TV would be a far less colorful place without those iconic characters from Will & Grace and Orange is the New Black and The L Word. Because some brave souls had the courage to live their truths as writers, producers, directors and actors, viewers got to watch in awe of a gay stickup man on the streets of Baltimore; admire the savvy of the world's greatest hacker who happened to be transgender; and come to adore two goofy gay dads as they fumble through raising their daughter. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the gallery of TV Guide's all-time greatest LGBTQ characters below. Happy Pride!