The Academy Award-nominated actress played Chandler Bing’s trans parent on the sitcom. 

In an exclusive interview with Gay Times, Academy Award-nominated actress Kathleen Turner has admitted that Friends has not aged well in regards to LGBTQ rights.

The 63-year-old icon – who played Chandler Bing’s trans parent on the show – told Gay Times: “I don’t think it’s aged well. It was a 30 minute sitcom. It became a phenomenon, but no one ever took it seriously as a social comment.”

Kathleen revealed how she received the role, and told us why the character was so groundbreaking.

“How they approached with me with it, was ‘would you like to be the first woman playing a man playing a woman?’ I said yes, because there weren’t many drag/trans people on television at the time.”

During Friends’ run, the character was never actually acknowledged as trans, and was referred to as either gay or a drag queen. She was often mocked by the other characters – especially for her drag show, which was titled Viva Las Gaygas. “Yeah, people thought Charles was just dressing up,” Kathleen added.

Since the entirety of Friends was released on UK Netflix, new viewers – and old fans – have noticed that the show had homophobic tendencies. The misgendering of Charles Bing, Chandler exhibiting ‘gay panic’ traits whenever he was mistaken as gay (which was a lot of the time), Ross – in general, have attributed to the show’s negative LGBTQ reputation.

However, the acclaimed sitcom did feature one of the first lesbian couples to be seen on television, so we do need to give credit where it’s due.

Video editor Tijana Mamula compiled a clip of all the homophobic scenes from the show, and posted it onto YouTube.

If you haven’t noticed the show’s homophobia before, you’ll notice after this 50-miniute compilation video…

Kathleen’s one-woman show – Finding My Voice – will run at The Other Palace in London from 17 April to 6 May.

For tickets:

Get your hands on our latest issue now!