CARTER HEYWOOD as portrayed by Michael Boatman on Spin City (1996-2002)
We're back on TV and this is perhaps the first Black gay series regular I remember. I used to watch this show regularly, although I must admit that much of it didn't "stick". But, I do remember very clearly seeing this Black gay man on TV, suited, booted and being himself openly. Week after week. Coincendentally , the straight-in-real-life Michael Boatman was on HBO's Arli$$ at the time playing a completely different and straight character. I also watched that show and actually enjoyed it more than Spin City. I was disappointed that this character wasn't gay, and I think I secretly wanted the actor to be gay in real life. Because then, he'd be a real person and could be the role model I was so yearning for. Of course at 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, I was at varying degrees of accepting I was gay myself, and I didn't know how to articulate it. Since I don't remember Spin City accurately, I did some research and it appears that Carter Heywood had a pretty full life including love interests, played by Luke Perry and Lou Diamond Phillips, and he ultimately adopted a baby. I don't know many gay things he did or didn't do with said lovers, but he was there. A whole Black gay man living and breathing on TV. For six seasons. Fun tidbits for context: Ellen "came out" in 1997 and Will & Grace premiered in 1998. Why isn't this character, who predates both, as readily discussed in the conversation about gay depictions on network television? .