I used to watch NYPD Blue reruns, so I saw when the character of John Irvin, the office administrator, was introduced. At first, I thought he'd be a caricature of homosexuality -- the feminine gestures, being softspoken, glances at cute guys, being emotional, etc., and for a while, that's pretty much what he was. But I liked that the lieutenant welcomed him into the office as a full-time employee and praised him for his work. I think what that season did was actually show how straight people tend to react to gay people, and how ridiculous it is to be afraid of or hate someone just because of their sexual orientation -- so that was an important side that needed to be addressed. You saw how some of the male cops were uncomfortable with him, especially Sipowicz (Dennis Franz's character), with his not-so-subtle homophobia.
The relationship between Sipowicz and John was an interesting thing to observe, but it did evolve from a typical straight-man-gay-man thing, to something more sincere (at least I felt that way). Sipowicz allowed John to give him haircuts in the men's room, and eventually let him babysit his young son -- which he'd had strong reservations about. So that was a breakthrough in Sipowicz's character, and I was glad for that. Bill Brochtrup
is also a great actor and never overplayed his part.
And hey...even the occasional transvestite hookers had human sides to them, I thought.