Abbott Elementary’s Creator on the Present’s Queer Illustration
Abbott Elementary may not be an entirely realistic depiction of what it’s like to be a teacher, but it’s pretty spot-on when it comes to representing the queer community.
This was important to the show’s star Quinta Brunson, who insisted on having at least one gay character in the ABC sitcom—we say at least one, because somebody else didn’t make the cut. “There was another character originally who was queer, but the network thought we had too many characters,” she told The Hollywood Reporter Aug. 8. “I [thought] that was fair. I really didn’t want to not have a queer character on my show—I just don’t think that’s realistic.”
So they made Jacob, played by Chris Perfetti, the show’s sole gay lead, and his sexual identity is deliberately introduced casually, when he mentions his boyfriend (who later makes appearances in the series). For Quinta, this felt like the obvious choice, saying, “There are so many queer people in my life, and they never had to come out to me. I wanted the audience to feel that way.”