On a Sitcom
Ellen DeGeneres made history in her epic episode of the ABC sitcom "Ellen" in 1997 when her character came out of the closet. This was her extremely public admission to viewers that Ellen herself, not just the character, was a lesbian. Her show was cancelled the following year, and she was essentially out of work for three years. Jerry Falwell called her "Ellen DeGenerate." That's how old school America was in the decade we love to look at nostalgically, further proving how brave Ellen was.
Thankfully, she had Oprah by her side (not just in her real-life interview, but Oprah also stars as Ellen's therapist in the episode). The event made Ellen the first openly lesbian actress to play an openly lesbian character in the history of television.