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LIFE.com: Taboo Then, Typical Now

1973: A TV Personality Is Openly Gay

"An American Family," a PBS series that trailed a California couple and their five kids, is famous for two important "firsts" -- it is considered the first reality television show, and also the first series to feature an openly gay man. The family's eldest son, Lance Loud, essentially came out to a nation, and stirred controversy and conversation just by being himself. Pictured: Lance in Los Angeles in 1990, holding a photo of himself from the pioneering series. (Photo: Ann Summa/Getty Images/LIFE.com)
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