Law & Order: SVU often breaks new ground when it comes to issues related to sexual assault, but it hasn't always written great stories for the LGBTQ community, especially in the early years.
More often than not, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender characters are murder victims rather than full-fledged characters. However, despite this lack of balance, SVU has also advocated on behalf of the LGBTQ community in some of its stories.
Here are 13 times SVU not only got it right, but supported positive change for LGBTQ Americans.
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Prevalence of Gay People - Bad Blood
Law & Order: SVU Season 1 Episode 11 marked the first time the show addressed gay issues. After the son of a virulently anti-gay activist was murdered, the team discussed the irony of a homophobe having a gay child and provided the audience with statistics about the prevalence of gay people.
Transgender People In Prison - Fallacy
Law & Order: SVU Season 4 Episode 21 was the first of several episodes to tackle transgender issues. In this story, ADA Cabot struggled with guilt after sending a transgender rape victim to prison for killing her rapist, as the woman would be assigned to a male unit. As Cabot feared, the transgender character was beaten up in prison.
Conversion Therapy - Abomination
Law & Order: SVU Season 5 Episode 8 addressed conversion therapy -- the idea of giving gay people therapy to turn them straight -- and how damaging that can be for them.
HIV Status and Privacy - Lowdown
Law & Order: SVU Season 5 Episode 20 was ostensibly about the issue of some men having sex in secret with other men while married to a woman. However, a subplot presented an important ethical dilemma, as ADA Novak outed one man's HIV status to his wife so that the wife could protect herself and others questioned whether it was appropriate for her to do so.
Parental Acceptance - Strain
Some of the best LGBTQ-supportive moments on Law & Order: SVU come from the detectives' personal lives, and Law & Order: SVU Season 7 Episode 5 was a case in point. In this story, Fin learned his son Ken was gay and struggled to accept Ken's sexual orientation.
Homophobic Ideas About Sexual Deviance - Alien
Law & Order: SVU Season 7 Episode 11 was the first to deal with homophobic beliefs that gay people are pedophiles. In this story, a young girl's grandmother manipulated her to make false allegations of sexual abuse against one of her lesbian moms.
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