A social or religious custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing. The term literally means “forbidden” – it comes from Oceania, brought into the civilized world by James Cook during his voyages exploring the area.


Over the centuries, humanity has developed many taboos and has eliminated many others. It certainly has an easier job today, when half of the world’s population carries connected devices in their pockets, serving as not only a tool to find entertainment at and myriads of other channels but as a portal that gives them access to an entire world of ideas and ideals.


For centuries, same-sex relationships were a major taboo in the vast majority of Christian nations. Today, thanks to the mainstream media and the usually unrestricted access to information, this taboo is finally on the verge of being broken. It is a long, hard road, and it is far from its end – but it’s closing.


The American dream factory we know as Hollywood has a long history of shaping the world’s stance on various issues. For ages, same-sex relationships were a major taboo in Hollywood – the products of the studios housed there reflected the taboos of the population, exporting the same values to the rest of the world. Gay people were often seen as antagonistic – the first time a same-sex relationship was depicted in a sympathetic way in the mainstream media was the TV movie “That Certain Summer” about a divorced father (played by Hal Holbrook) hiding his relationship with a man (Martin Sheen).


A breakthrough was made by an NBC police procedural show called “LA Law” in 1991 showing the first ever lesbian kiss on commercial television – the reactions were extreme, with many advertisers cutting ties with the channel as a result. But this broke a barrier and others followed suit. In 2000, a couple shares the first “passionate” kiss on screen in the teen TV series “Dawson’s Creek”. The two actors, Kerr Smith, and Andy Kaufman were proud to break this barrier, paving the way for the things to come. A year later, the popular series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” broke another barrier: it showed an ongoing same-sex relationship between Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) for the first time in the history of television. And in 2015, the first TV show arrived depicting the life of a same-sex couple: Freeform’s “The Fosters” tells the story of a lesbian couple raising a family of biological, adopted, and foster children.

There is no telling whether these TV shows openly showing these scenes were influential on the public’s perception of same-sex relationships or it was the other way around – the fact remains, though, that these were truly helpful in breaking down the century-long taboo.