What Other '80s Teen Stars Have to Say About Equality

By Josh Hinkle

Originally published on Advocate.com March 07 2012 2:15 AM ET

Eighties teen idol Kirk Cameron, who played Mike Seaver in the sitcom Growing Pains from 1985 to 1992, sparked a media frenzy with his antigay comments on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight show last week. 

"I think that it's unnatural," Cameron said when asked if homosexuality was a sin. "I think that it's detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization." 

Click through to see what other '80s teen idols think about LGBT fans and equality.

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Comic Geri Jewell, who played the cousin of Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel) on the long-running sitcom The Facts of Life, last year published her memoir I'm Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond, in which she came out publicly as lesbian.

Whelchel's conservative views are well-known. In 2006, when answering a question from a mother who thought her son might be gay, Whelchel wrote on her website that she believes "it is possible to leave behind a homosexual lifestyle" and recommended "ex-gay" ministries such as Exodus.

Mindy Cohn, who costarred in the series as Natalie, has long embraced her LGBT following. Last year Cohn spoke to  The Advocate  about her relationship with the gay community, saying, "I don’t know why, but by God’s grace I’ve always had really close relationships with gay people."

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Todd Bridges and Dana Plato of Diff'rent Strokes (1978-1986) differed greatly in their views of being gay. According to MSNBC, Bridges even says in his memoir, Killing Willis, that he struggled with homosexuality. That is, he struggled until Plato brought him back to heterosexuality. The two were an item for most of the show's run.

Before her death, Plato told Owen Keehnen from the Queer Cultural Center, "It's not about gay or straight or bi, we're attracted to spirits. Whatever body they're in." She went on to say, "I'm open-minded. I don't consider myself gay or hetero, I just am. I've had experiences all over the planet but it always comes down to just me, but I think at this point if I had an ongoing relationship, I believe it would be with a man."

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Sarah Jessica Parker starred in the short-lived '80s sitcom Square Pegs (1982-1983). Parker, along with her Sex and the City cast mates, spoke out for marriage equality while promoting Sex and the City 2. She says she "can't imagine any real legitimate reason" not to have marriage equality.

See the full video of Parker and the rest of the Sex and the City cast below.

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Costars of Who's the Boss? (1984-1992) Alyssa Milano and Danny Pintauro have both made positive statements regarding gay rights.

Pintauro, who following the show came out as gay, speaks out regarding other actors. In an interview with Metro Weekly, Pintauro said many actors are not out in their public lives, but he wishes they were. He believes those actors are seen as role models to kids and the kids "see them totally living a lie."

Milano said on the red carpet of VH1's Do Something Awards show that it seems "inhumane" to not let LGBT people marry. Check out the video of her statement below.

WHOS THE BOSS X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMScott Baio, child star of Charles in Charge (1984-1990), has not spoken out as for or against gay rights. However, Advocate.com
reported that the star took to Twitter to defend his wife after she
slammed Jezebel.com bloggers, calling them "lesbian shitasses."CHARLES IN CHARGE X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMActress Soleil Moon Frye, star of Punky Brewster (1984-1988), might not be speaking out for gay rights, but she is playing a lesbian minister who marries two gay men in For Better or for Worse, according to the IMDB.com. The film also features Janeane Garofalo, Jeffrey Tambor, and Rebecca Gayheart. It is currently in production and does not have a release date.PUNKY BREWSTER X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COM

Jodie Sweetin, who played Stephanie Tanner on Full House (1987-1995), and fiancé Morty Coyle have announced their support for marriage equality. Coyle tweeted "in love with my fiance and waiting for marriage equality for all."

Fellow Full House cast member and sister of Kirk Cameron, Candace Cameron Bure has not spoken out on LGBT issues but seems to be more accepting of LGBT people. In a statement sent to The Advocate, gossip blogger Perez Hilton said, "The fact that Candace Cameron Bure sat down to speak with me is telling. That is a very public indication that she is comfortable enough with a homosexual man to come into their pink room to sit down and chat." See Bure's full interview with Hilton below.

Jodie Sweetin x390 (fair) | ADVOCATE.COM The 1980 drama The Blue Lagoon made sex symbols of both Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. Both are also longtime allies to the LGBT community.

Shields played a lesbian in the 1998 film The Misadventures of Margaret and again in the 2001 television drama What Makes a Family. In a cover profile to promote the latter film Shields toldThe Advocate about her close lifelong connection to the gay community, which she calls the "proudest part of her life," and revealed she'd been partially raised by two gay men who were friends with her mother.

Atkins is appreciative of his status as a heartthrob to gay men. In 2009 he discussed gay fans with website Out in Hollywood. "I'm actually very lucky in that respect because I am able to have that crossover so I have both straight and gay fans," he said. "The 80s was a big time for the gay movement and here came a movie where it was male nudity being prominent rather than female nudity and so [I] became sort of an iconic poster child at that time. To me, it was kind of flattering.CHRISTOPHER ATKINS BROOKE SHIELDS X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMKristy McNichol, star of the risque 1980 comedy Little Darlings, came out publicly as lesbian in an interview with People magazine to show her support for bullied LGBT teens. McNichol's publicist released a statement, saying, "She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different."