The ABC soap opera One Life to Live had a long history of tackling controversial social issues, including women’s issues, interracial relationships, and, in 1988, a groundbreaking storyline featuring television’s first gay teen.
Billy Douglas (played by Ryan Phillippe), a newcomer to the town of Lianview, was reluctant to tell anyone about his homosexuality, especially his parents. He did, however, confide in the town’s compassionate pastor, Rev. Andrew Carpenter. But a scheming woman named Marty who Carpenter rejected began circulating rumors around town that the pastor had been molesting Billy. In a dramatic scene, the entire town, led by Billy’s parents, confronted Carpenter and demanded that he resign, the pastor delivered a riveting sermon against the evils of prejudice and homophobia. This led Billy to take a public stand in support of Carpenter — and to come out to his parents.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Watch his heartbreaking admission below.