The greatest LGBTQ + characters in the UK soap

We’re celebrating Pride Month, a time to share the history of Pride and celebrate our gay community.

Over the years, soaps have introduced many incredible characters that are part of the LGBTQ + community.

Here are some of our favorite LGBTQ + characters in soaps.

The greatest LGBTQ + characters in soaps

Callum Highway – EastEnders

EastEnders character Callum came out gay in 2019 (Credit: BBC)

Callum Whitney Dean was supposed to marry in 2019. However, he fell in love with Ben Mitchell and it was revealed that Callum was previously in love with one of his army friends Chris, who died.

He admitted to Whitney that he had cheated on her with Ben, and although she planned to hold the wedding, she left him at the altar.

He later admitted to her that he was gay and started a relationship with Ben.

Callum was afraid to come out for fear of what his brother Stuart and father Jonno would say.

While Stuart eventually accepted his brother’s sexuality, Jonno did not.

Callum’s coming-out story has shown that while his father doesn’t accept who he is, he doesn’t let himself be stopped from finding happiness.

Liv Flaherty – Emmerdale

emmerdale life
The character Liv is asexual (Image: ITV)

Liv Flaherty told Belle Dingle in 2017 that she doesn’t like anyone.

The following year, she explained her feelings to her buddy Gabby, stating that she was asexual.

Liv is the first asexual character on a soap and has helped viewers understand what asexuality is.

While there is often the common misconception that all asexual people don’t want to be in a relationship, Liv has shown that those who are asexual still have feelings for someone and still want a relationship.

Sophie Webster – Coronation Street

Sophie came out as a lesbian when she was a teenager (Image credit: ITV)

Read more: Coronation Street Spoiler: Revealed in All-New Pictures Next Week

Sophie began practicing Christianity as a teenager.

In 2009, Sophie started dating Ben Richardson. However, she broke up with him after discovering that he had tried it on with Ryan Connor’s mother, Michelle.

She soon realized that she was gay and had feelings for her best friend, Sian Powers.

Sophie and Sian eventually separated. Over the years, Sophie dated Maddie Heath and Paula Martin and had a brief affair with Kate Connor.

After she came out, Sophie thought God hate her and went up on the church roof drunk. The pastor told Sophie that God loved her for who she is, but she eventually fell out of the room.

Sophie’s story showed how sexuality can play a huge role in religion. However, it has been accepted for what it is and was not expected to be something that others do not like.

Bernadette Taylor – EastEnders

Bernadette came out as a lesbian in 2018 (Image: BBC)

Bernie Taylor first appeared in Soap in 2017. She soon befriended Tiffany Butcher and it became clear that Bernie Tiff saw more than just a friend.

On New Year’s Eve 2018, Bernie came out as a lesbian to her mother Karen, who she was very supportive of.

In 2019, EastEnders aired a Pride episode and Bernie was shy and insecure at first. Tina Carter soon stepped in, however.

While some may be afraid to tell their families about their sexuality, the Taylor family has proven that some families immediately accept.

Aaron Dingle – Emmerdale

The character Aaron initially refused to accept his sexuality (Image credit: ITV)

Aaron Dingle first appeared on the show from 2003 to 2006 before returning in 2008.

When Aaron was a teenager, he tried to kiss his best friend Adam Barton after they nearly got into a collision.

Paddy later discovered that Aaron was visiting a gay bar and when he asked about his sexuality, Aaron attacked him.

Aaron tried to deny his sexuality, but Paddy told him that he couldn’t deny who he is.

Aaron later attempted to kill himself by inhaling car fumes, but was stopped by Cain and Adam.

In court, Aaron admitted to being gay.

Aaron’s story showed self-rejection. However, the Aaron we see on screen now is very different from the Aaron we saw 12 years ago.

Now Aaron has accepted who he is.

Sally St. Claire – Hollyoaks

Sally St. Claire is the soap’s first transgender character, played by a transgender actor (Credit: Lime Pictures / YouTube / Channel 4)

Hollyoak’s character Sally St. Claire first appeared in 2015.

She was born Iain Naismith and was previously engaged to Myra McQueen before becoming a woman in 1990.

Sally is played by actress Annie Wallace. She is the first transgender person to portray a regular transgender character in British Soap Opera history.

Another fun fact about Annie is that she was working as a research assistant on Coronation Street when they introduced the series’ first transgender character, Hayley Cropper.

Beth Jordache – Brookside

Beth and Margaret are known to share the first same-sex kiss of a soap before the watershed (Image credit: Channel 4)

Brookside character Beth Jordache was played by actress Anna Friel.

In 1994, Beth and her friend Margaret Clemence shared their first same-sex kiss before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The kiss made TV history and was later shown on television to an audience of billions when a clip of it was used at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

Anna has grown into a very successful actress since leaving Brookside, starring in many films and television shows.

Charity Dingle – Emmerdale

Charity is bisexual (Image: ITV)

Read more: Emmerdale Spoilers: Revealed in Brand New Pictures Next Week

Over the years, Charity Dingle has had relationships with both men and women.

Charity had an affair with Zoe Tate while she was with Zoe’s brother Chris.

In 2017 she started a relationship with Vanessa Woodfield and the fandom “Vanity” was born.

Vanity fans were devastated when the couple split last year after Charity cheated on Mackenzie Boyd.

But we still hope they will meet again when Vanessa returns.

Sean Tully – Coronation Street

Sean is openly gay (Image: ITV)

Corrie legend Sean Tully made his first appearance in 2003. He is played by the actor Antony Cotton.

Antony, like his character Sean, is openly gay and when Sean first appeared he was outside and proud.

Over the years, Sean had a few lovers. He became a father in 2008 after spending a drunken night with his girlfriend Violet.

It’s been a while since viewers saw a love interest in Sean, but we hope he settles down with someone in the future.

Ben Mitchell – EastEnders

The character Ben is gay (Credit: BBC)

Ben is the son of Kathy Beale and Phil Mitchell.

In 2011, Ben came out as gay, but Phil initially refused to accept it. However, he became a father after sleeping with Lola and making her pregnant.

As Ben got older, he started dating Abi Branning, a childhood friend. But things turned sour when he discovered she was faking a miscarriage.

Ben later met Paul Coker and the two began a relationship.

However, when the two men went out, they were both brutally beaten in a homophobic attack.

Unfortunately, Paul died of his injuries and left Ben’s heart broken.

Two years ago, Ben returned to Walford with Lola and his daughter Lexi. He married Callum Highway last month.

Ben’s story proved that while his father initially didn’t accept his sexuality, he eventually came to him and that others around him were there to support him.

Ripley Lennox – Hollyoaks

Ripley identifies as non-binary (Credit: Lime Pictures / YouTube / Channel 4)

The character Ripley Lennox is the first non-binary character to appear in a soap.

You first appeared as the new stall owner at Cunningham’s Grand Bizarre in July 2020.

Ripley is played by actor Ki Griffin who also identifies as non-binary and uses she / she pronouns.

Ki made soap history.

Matty Barton – Emmerdale

Matty is Emmerdale’s first transgender character (Image: ITV)

In 2009 Hannah Barton came to Emmerdale with Mama Moira, Papa John, brother Adam and sister Holly.

In 2012 she decided to leave the Dales and moved to London.

Six years later, Matty broke into Butler’s farmhouse and was caught by Cain. When Moira arrived she was shocked to find that Hannah is now a man, Matty.

Matty revealed that he was now living as a man. Matty has had top surgery since returning and is currently on the waiting list for his bottom surgery.

In real life, Ash Palmisciano, who plays Matty, is transgender and has spoken openly about his transition.

Ash is the first transgender actor to play a transgender character in Emmerdale.

Rana Habeeb – Coronation Street

The horror of Coronation Street fans when Rana returned from the dead to Carla.  to pursue
Kate and Rana were supposed to get married in 2019 (Image: ITV)

Rana Habeeb first appeared in Corrie in 2016 as Alya Nazir’s friend from university.

She later began dating Alya’s brother, Zeedan.

However, she soon began to develop feelings for Kate Connor and became jealous of Kate’s friend Imogen.

Despite her feelings for Kate, she married Zeedan, and soon she and Kate began a full blown affair.

Eventually she told Zeedan about her affair, and he told her parents.

Her parents tried to pay Zeedan to stay with Rana, and Rana agreed at first but soon decided that she needed to be with Kate.

After she officially left with Kate, her parents tried to kidnap her, but Kate was able to help her.

The two were supposed to get married in March 2019, but Rana died on her wedding day when the Underworld factory roof collapsed.

Rana’s story was sad in that it was never really accepted by her parents. However, she chose to be happy instead of living the way others wanted to.

Vanessa Woodfield – Emmerdale

The character Vanessa is bisexual (Image: ITV)

Vanessa Woodfield first appeared in 2012 and is openly bisexual.

Upon arrival, she had an affair with her friend Rhona who explored her bisexuality.

Vanessa was engaged to Charity Dingle, who she dated in 2017, but they split after Vanessa discovered she had cheated on.

The character was the first major character to be bisexual in the soap and has relationships with both men and women.

Vanessa is played by the openly gay actress Michelle Hardwick.

Michelle is married to Emmerdale producer Kate Brooks and the couple welcomed their first son Teddy in October 2020.

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