Of course, the mere idea of subtly humanizing gays steams cultural warriors like Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, who insists that Hollywood "refuses to give up its pro-homosexual agenda" and is determined to "influence the culture," even if that means alienating consumers.
Actually, big media companies tend to be secular in their worship of profits, so rampant viewer rejection would prompt a retreat that hasn't happened. It's by no means clear, however, that all the media exposure contributes to public comfort with gays in any greater measure than it fuels the wrath of groups like Lafferty's, which anticipate a backlash over the issues of gay marriage and last June's Supreme Court decision striking down sodomy laws.
Perhaps the ultimate sign of progress is to see gays presented without sexual orientation defining them.
Never a political comic before her "coming out" experience, DeGeneres recently told reporters that she doesn't feel compelled to make her personal life an issue in her new talk show, which will make its debut next month.
"I just want to be the person I was before this kind of overshadowed my life," she said. "People know I'm gay.... There's nothing to talk about."