While they had a relatively slow start, MTV soon understood the importance of diversity and actually reflecting the youth of America. Here's when the network got it right on queer inclusion.
Above: In the video-centric '80s, MTV featured artists who played with notions of gender and sexuality, especially Brits like Boy George and Annie Lennox, and helped them become superstars..
Pedro Zamora wasn't the first LGBT person on The Real World, but he had the biggest impact. An activist battling HIV and homophobia, Zamora became a role model for generations as well as many viewers' first encounter with an openly gay person. When he died shortly after his season concluded, President Bill Clinton honored Zamora publicly.
From the beginning, MTV's The Real World showcased out and proud LGBT cast members, with Norman Korpi being the first. Following in his lead were folks like Ruthie, Danny, Marlon, Karamo, and Katelynn.
Not long after it was canceled, MTV re-aired the critically-acclaimed ABC series My So-Called Life. By doing so, the music channel enabled millions more to get acquainted with Rickie, a groundbreaking gay character portrayed by Wilson Cruz.
MTV's documentary-style True Life respectfully took on LGBT topics from its inception in the late ''90s. Every aspect of our lives, from being trans to pansexual to gay-for-pay, has received the True Life treatment.
OK, the infamous Madonna-Britney kiss of 2003 probably didn't move the needle forward when it came to LGBT equality (or women's), but you have to appreciate the boldness of the stars — Christina Aguilera was there too! — to get their tongues wet.
MTV's dating shows like Next and Dismissed were not high art, but at least they gave gay and bisexual people equal opportunities to find (or humiliate) potential dates.
The sexy Undressed soap opera paired up all kinds of couples in the late '90s and early '00s, including plenty of same-sex pairs.
Dave Holmes may have been MTV's coolest VJ, hosting Total Request Live and managing not to lose his mind. Since then, the out gay personality has became a successful writer and host, and he just penned a memoir about his life, Party of One.
Tila Tequila: A Shot at Love and its sequel were certainly trashy dating shows, but at least they gave visibility to bisexual folks.
When reports of queer youth taking their lives dominated the media in 2011 and 2012, newspaper columnist Dan Savage started the It Gets Better campaign and changed the narrative. MTV turned the messaging into two popular specials in 2012.
Miley Cyrus is a sex-positive, pansexual, genderqueer star of the 2010s. MTV has championed her, giving her an outlet to highlight teen homelessness and queer youth issues when she won the 2014 Video of the Year and had a homeless youth accept her award.
MTV's scripted series The Hard Times of RJ Berger centered around a young man with a large member. The show's star, Paul Ianoco, would later come out during an interview with Michael Musto.
MTV's version of the sexy U.K. show Skins didn't last long, but at least it included a lesbian cheerleader.
Teen Wolf could have been a macho straight show, but its producers, writers, and actors went in a much more inclusive direction, featuring numerous LGBT storylines and characters.
This scripted show takes place at a high school where being LGBT is cool (what a concept!), and has included nearly every aspect of our rainbow, from bisexual to transgender to intersex.