×

Jesse Tyler Ferguson: How ‘Modern Family’ Helped Change Perceptions on Gay Couples

Jesse Tyler Ferguson stars in ABC’s “Modern Family.” In September 2012, he and Justin Mikita started Tie the Knot, and the two married in 2013.

“Modern Family” is a game-changer, isn’t it?

I love the show so much. In the pilot, you’re meeting Mitch and Cam when they’re becoming fathers for the first time. And that’s the most interesting thing about them; their gayness is about sixth on the list of their qualities. They’re fathers, they’re sons, they’re a lawyer and a teacher — they’re also gay, but the series does not lead with that. That was progressive and bold, even though it shouldn’t be. “Modern Family” has become a pop-culture touchstone, an easy and safe way to expose audiences to many different relationships in a way that doesn’t feel threatening.

And the characters have built over the years …

Last season, having Mitch and Cam get married, but having Jay (Mitch’s father) not be OK with it — that was so smart. I was really impressed that in the sixth season, the writers could still do some thing that felt energized and electric with these characters.

What’s next after the Supreme Court decision?

We know from other civil-rights movements, people’s attitudes don’t change overnight. There’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of helping to change perception. I think the hardest work is with kids, to remind the next generation that we have to make sure everyone is treated with respect and dignity. I’m encouraged because many kids are already like “What’s the big deal?” It’s also important to hear other points of view, to hear from people who are not supportive. That invigorates the conversation. My advice to anyone is patience, understanding and a light touch. You get a lot further when you hear someone’s opinions and talk about it.

What exactly is Tie the Knot?

It’s a fun and quirky way to support LGBT rights. When we started in 2012, there were only seven states with marriage equality. Since then, the ball has started rolling faster — though we’re not taking credit for that! We love our partnership with the Tie Bar (which sells the ties online), and we want to continue. We’re raising great money, and sort of shifting our mission statement. We’re trying to evolve into an LGBT outreach program and continue with civil rights. We want to continue supporting organizations in the trenches, doing hard work. There’s always more work to be done.

More TV

  • Mipcom Wrap: The Shows, News, Trends

    Mipcom Wrap: The Shows, News, Trends and Talking Points in Cannes

    Mipcom remains the biggest international TV get-together of the year, and that makes Cannes in October the place where the industry takes stock. How programming is made, bought and sold is changing, as is the array of platforms that carry content. Here are takeaways from Mipcom 2019. Good Buzz – but No Title Dominates No [...]

  • Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham

    Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ Soccer Doc Series

    Amazon has greenlit a new “All or Nothing” sports documentary series, this time following London-based soccer team Tottenham Hotspur. “All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur” will follow a year in the life of the team, charting the ongoing 2019-20 season. The squad made it to the final of the European Champions League last year, losing to [...]

  • Steve Kornacki

    Steve Kornacki, Chris Matthews Stand at Center of New NBC News Podcasts

    After vowing to press ahead more directly into the world of podcasts, NBC News is readying the launch of three additional audio shows centered around politics. “Article II” will help listeners understand the impeachment process. The program, new episodes of which are slated to debut Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as people head for their evening [...]

  • FIRMA-ACUERDO-AMERICA-TV-THE-MEDIAPRO-STUDIO-PHOTO

    The Mediapro Studio, America TV Strike Three Series Co-Production Alliance

    Spanish TV giant The Mediapro Studio has inked a three-year collaboration deal with Argentine broadcaster America TV, aimed at developing, producing and distributing original content. The agreement will see the production of three series to be distributed in the global market, the companies said Thursday in a statement. No details of the projects were revealed. [...]

  • Trentino Leads By Example With Eco-Friendly

    Trentino Film Commission Leads by Example With Eco-Friendly Program T-Green

    In 2015, Luca Ferrario set out to lead by example. Though many European commissions already offered sustainability programs, none, he felt, did so in ways that could flourish in his own back yard. “Most of my colleagues offered guidelines to follow, only those were not enough, at least not in Italy,” says Ferrario, who is [...]

  • American Son review

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases 'American Son' Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix released the trailer for “American Son” starring Kerry Washington and first looks at Dolly Parton’s new anthology series, “Heartstrings.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has released the trailer for “American Son,” which premieres Nov. 1 on the streaming service. Directed by Tony award-winner Kenny Leon, the film is based on the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content