It’s a big day for marriage equality advocates, reality TV junkies and 20-something girls who still remember their choreographed dances to “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” Former ‘N Sync star Lance Bass is getting his very own TV special about the day he married Michael Turchin.
The special, Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding, airs Thursday night on E!, a network that pulled in an audience of 10.5 million to watch Kim Kardashian marry NBA player Kris Humphries in 2011. It marks the first televised special featuring a same-sex wedding.
“It’s all about visibility,” Bass told The Daily Beast. “You can’t get educated unless you see something. We always say the best way to change a person’s mind is to get to know someone. And when you get to know a gay person it’s going to change your mind. I don’t think there’s one person who’s ever met a gay person and decided, ‘Oh no I actually hate them more now.’”
Bass came out nearly nine years ago in a cover story for People magazine. He and Turchin were married in Los Angeles last December.
Earlier Thursday, Bass served as an ambassador at a mass wedding ceremony for 100 LGBT and straight couples in Fort Lauderdale. Florida became the 36th state to legalize marriage equality last month.
In recent years, as the LGBT equality movement has made historic gains, LGBT people have also become increasingly visible in the media. Thirty-three couples, gay and straight, were married on live television last year during the Grammy Awards. And at last month’s 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards, both HBO’s “The Normal Heart” and Amazon’s “Transparent” – shows featuring groundbreaking portrayals of LGBT characters – earned heaps of praise. More mainstream shows like Fox’s “Glee” and “Empire” are embracing new LGBT storylines as well.
Studies have shown that watching LGBT people on TV leads to lower levels of anti-LGBT attitudes among viewers. So while Kardashian’s 72-day marriage to Humphries is hardly something Bass and Turchin should aspire to, their wedding-day ratings may well be.