MTV has always pushed forward the visibility of LGBT equality -- and no program on this network is more responsible for introducing people advocating for this important cause than the Real World.
In honor of Pride Month, a 30-minute special entitled MTV's Proudest Moments will premiere on Saturday, June 4 at 12pm and look back at the channel’s history celebrating the many iconic LGBT moments that have become cultural reference points for mainstream pop culture today -- including scenes unfolding on the long-running reality franchise as well as Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word and the 2004 True Life episode “I’m Gay and I’m Getting Married” (11 years before gay marriage was legalized).
Since Real World has been responsible for bringing a diverse group of young adults with differing sexual orientations under one roof, we're taking a closer look at several participants who were trailblazers when it came to sharing their stories and served as LGBT educators for their roommates and viewers. Take a look at them below:
Norman Korpi from Real World: New York
The 25-year-old was the very first LGBT housemate and identified as bisexual. He memorably took several of his peers to the Roxy for a night of roller disco and was praised by Heather B for his ability to "be real." He also disclosed that he had been bullied when he was in high school and chronicled his dating life during his televised tenure.
Pedro Zamora from Real World: San Francisco
The Cuban-American AIDS activist found love with Sean Sasser during his Fog City experience -- and his commitment ceremony with his partner was a celebration that was embraced by his peers and far ahead of its time.
Genesis Moss from Real World: Boston
The Missouri native -- who enjoyed frequenting gay clubs around Beantown -- was brought to tears when a child (at the daycare center where the cast worked) admitted that she hated gay people. While Genesis' close friend Kameelah tried to speak to the minor about her prejudiced views, the 20-year-old understandably needed to walk away from the conversation to compose herself.Danny Roberts from Real World: New Orleans
The charming Southern boy had recently come out to his parents and was in a new relationship with Paul. But the romance presented issues that no LGBT cast member had faced before: Paul's parents were unaware he was gay and, at the time, he was serving in the military (back when Don't Ask, Don't Tell was still in existence). Paul eventually did visit NOLA, but his face was blurred to protect his identity. Several years after the season concluded and Paul's military service ended, his identity was officially unveiled during an MTV special.Katelynn Cusanelli from Real World: Brooklyn
The then-24-year-old was the first and, to date, only transgender person featured on the series. At first, she was hesitant to open up to her roommates about her transition -- but as the season progressed, Katelynn candidly addressed her journey and, in the process, greatly informed others.
Be sure to see more of these five individuals in MTV's Proudest Moments on Saturday -- and catch the digital profile series No ID Required on Monday, June 6 on the network’s Snapchat Discover and MTV.com. And for more resources on gender and sexuality, check out MTV’s Look Different campaign.