Throughout its run, True Blood, whose last season premieres Sunday, has seen at least a dozen LGBT characters, which contributed to its win of a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2011. Through the drama of both human and supernatural characters, the show has been able to tell LGBT stories in a "fresh new way," says Max Gouttebroze, GLAAD's entertainment media strategist.
"True Blood's fantastic, allegorical premise allowed it to tell stories about prejudice and acceptance in a fresh new way," Gouttebroze says. "Yet over its seven seasons the series also went the extra mile by including many gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters who were just as diverse, dangerous, and memorable as Bon Temps' other residents."
Take a look back at some of the Bon Temps residents who have made True Blood an exemplar of LGBT representation in the media.
Sophie-Anne Leclerq (Evan Rachel Wood) was the vampire queen of Louisiana, who appeared on the second, third, and fourth seasons of True Blood. She regularly took both male and female lovers, including Hadley Hale, the cousin of Sookie Stackhouse.
Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) is the former head of the Fellowship of the Sun, a zealous religious group that is vehemently antivampire. He was eventually turned into a vampire and also came out of the closet as gay.
Nan Flanagan (Jessica Tuck) was a prominent leader of The Authority, a governing vampiric power, who appears throughout the first four seasons of True Blood. She was acutely aware of the power of the media to influence public opinion and often appeared on television to advocate for vampire civil rights. Flanagan was ultimately staked by Eric and Bill after her orders to avoid interference with a coven of witches went awry.
Talbot Angelis (Theo Alexander) was the partner of Russell Edgington, the vampire governor of Mississippi in season 3. He was seduced and then murdered by Eric Northman, after which his remains were kept in a crystal urn by his bereaved partner.
Pam De Beaufort (Kristin Bauer van Straten) is the manager of the bar Fangtasia and the loyal progeny of Eric Northman. She has since turned Tara Thornton into a vampire, and the pair have developed a relationship.
Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis), a major character of True Blood, is the chef at Merlotte's, the local bar and restaurant. His flamboyant outfits and attitude make him a standout personality in Bon Temps.
Jesus Velasquez (Kevin Alejandro) was the boyfriend of Lafayette Reynolds in seasons 3 and 4. His love and guidance helped his partner get in touch with his ability to commune with the dead.
Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), the best friend of Sookie Stackhouse, was eventually was turned into a vampire and developed a relationship with Pam.
Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) was featured in seasons 3 and 5 of True Blood and was one of the show's most capitivating villains. The former king of Mississippi, Edgington was considered one of the oldest and most powerful vampires. His deep love for his partner, Talbot, caused Russell to have a mental breakdown after Talbot's death.
Eddie Gauthier (Stephen Root) appeared in the first season of True Blood as a lonely middle-aged vampire who gave Lafayette his blood in exchange for sex. He was later kidnapped and imprisoned in the basement of Jason Stackhouse, where he and his love interest at the time, Amy, drained him of his ecstasy-inducing vitae. He was eventually staked by Amy, but his memory stayed with Jason, serving as a reminder that not all vampires are evil.
Naomi (Vedette Lim, pictured right) is a mixed martial arts competitor and the former girlfriend of Tara Thornton. A recurring character in season 4, she left after Tara, who feared for their safety due to vampire attacks, ended their relationship.