The Gender Spectrum and Friends: How America’s Favorite Sitcom Screwed Up an Entire Generation

The Stake


by Miles Behn

It feels strange to pick on a show like Friends. Sure it defined a generation of viewers, but how could Friends know what the future would bring? How could it know that the same year it concluded, gay marriage would be legalized in Massachusetts? How could Friends know how completely trans, gender, and race issues would change in America? After all, it’s just a sitcom—it’s the chaotic accounts of six (rather wealthy), white 20-somethings.

Let’s give Friends the benefit of the doubt, and rely on the age-old adage that always negates change—it was a different time. After all, the Defense of Marriage Act was only introduced in 1996 (two years after Friends premiered), and LGBT issues were on the sidelines for most Americans. The fight was happening, but it wasn’t part of our entertainment media. It was the 90s. The economy was thriving, and TV shows…

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