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Ted Lasso Believes in Its LGBTQ+ Characters

Ted Lasso Believes in Its LGBTQ+ Characters

Colin Hughes (Billy Harris) and Trent Crimm (James Lance)

While it took Ted Lasso a few seasons for its characters to become explicitly gay, it was worth the wait.

After two and half seasons, 11 Emmy Awards, and a recent visit to the White House, Ted Lasso has finally acknowledged its LGBTQ+ characters: Colin Hughes (Billy Harris) and Trent Crimm (James Lance) are gay, and Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) is officially a bisexual icon.

While it took Ted Lasso a few seasons for its characters to become explicitly gay, it was worth the wait. During season 3, episode 3, football player Colin Hughes wakes up to a hot guy named Michael, but he makes it clear to his team that Michael is just a “pal.” In episode six, Colin ventures to a gay club in Amsterdam by himself and runs into sports journalist Trent Crimm, who admits he recently came out to his wife and daughter.

"We've known for a while that Colin was gay," co-creator Brendan Hunt said recently. "It was just a matter of when we were going to finally get to that. It's still a taboo in football, but there are more active players who are coming out.” In the last eighteen months, this includes Josh Cavallo in Australia, Jake Daniels in England, and Jakub Jankto in Prague.

During the show’s third season, Ted Lasso has also featured queer female characters. In episode 4, PR executive and fan favorite Keeley Jones has an awkward meet-cute with a newcomer to Ted Lasso:her female boss, Jack Danvers, who is played by out queer actress Jodi Balfour. But it’s not until this season’s fifth episode that Keeley makes a move on Jack with a passionate kiss that truly made me go weak in the knees.

Though the depiction of queer relationships is new for Ted Lasso, fans certainly had inklings about these characters during the first two seasons. For instance, during season 2, Colin compares the fictional dating app Bantr to Grindr. And I can’t count the number of times that Keeley says something flirty to Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham).

For example, in season 1, episode 7, Rebecca and Keeley go on a girls’ trip, and Keeley says to Rebecca: “I think you’re super hot. If I’m going to dip my toe into the lady pool, I can’t think of a finer body of water to do it with than you.” Similarly, earlier in the first season, Keeley begs to see nude photos of Rebecca that were leaked by the press, and when she sees the photos, Keeley says: “I feel like a teenage boy. I can’t stop staring.”

While some fans have been disappointed that it took so long for queerness to be explicitly acknowledged on the show, Hunt admits that part of it was a deliberate choice. When considering whether or not to cast someone new to portray a gay football player, Hunt shared that the writers thought: “It'll be better if that person's already on the team and we're not acknowledging it and they're hiding it so well.” He added: “That helps demonstrate what this person is going through.”

In many ways, this mirrors some of the ways Ted Lasso is handling other consequential topics, including mental health. For example, when we first meet Ted, he is overly optimistic around everyone. But after a few episodes, once we’re invested in the character, his façade begins to crack, and we learn that Lasso experiences panic attacks. Similarly, it takes a bit of time for Ted’s true feelings about his impending divorce to come to the surface.

As Ted Lasso continues airing its third and potentially final season, we are absolutely thrilled that the show has chosen to feature and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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Becca Damante