Tom Daley
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A Brief LGBT History of Saturday Night Live

A Brief LGBT History of SNL

Danitra Vance (Season 11)

Danitra Vance, a lesbian, is tied with Sweeney for first LGBT cast member on SNL, though she was not out publicly during her lifetime. She is also the first black female to become a repertory player. While she was notoriously plagued by limited and stereotypical roles on the show, her amazing talent shone through in every part she took. Whether she was translating Romeo and Juliet as part of a “Shakespeare in the Slums” project or pointedly criticizing the difficulties black women face in casting with “I Play the Maids” or the recurring “That Black Girl,” her support of social justice was always apparent. She resigned from the show in the wake of so many of her castmates being fired, but she never stopped writing and performing socially aware comedy during her too-short life — she died of breast cancer at age 40 in 1994. Here she is impressively performing a message about consent that deserves to go viral in today’s comedy world.

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