95ab616d7ed3755e887c0c8abd77dfdd0fef68b0 45 Best LGBTQ Shows to Watch During Pride Month—and All Year Long | Amazing Facts

45 Best LGBTQ Shows to Watch During Pride Month—and All Year Long

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Binge-worthy LGBTQ shows

Over the past decade, the explosion of streaming television and an astronomical increase in queer visibility have made it hard to find a TV show without queer characters, creators, or themes. Every month is a great month to watch LGBTQ movies and read LGBTQ books. For this year’s Pride Month, we compiled a list of the most important LGBTQ shows created for television.

Winning critical acclaim and/or cult popularity, each of these shows has contributed not only to great queer TV but also to some of the best TV in history. We included a variety of genres, from reality shows to cartoons, from teen TV shows to adult dramas. As you read this list, you’ll find that it’s representative of evolving norms around representation in casting for mainstream media. Older series tended to feature more white and cis and strictly homosexual characters. But over time, TV shows have evolved to include a greater diversity of race, queer sexualities, gender, and disability. Today, more shows are centering queer actors playing queer characters in principal roles, not just as sidekicks.

Nearly every show on this list has at least some problematic elements. Evaluating them critically and appreciating them for the cinematic achievements they contributed is all part of watching and returning to television. We hope this list offers some hilarious and heartwarming additions to your queue.

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Sort Of (2021–present)

A twentysomething Pakistani baby nonbinary person abandons a trip to Germany to keep nannying for children whose mother has slipped into a coma. Sort Of shows Sabi (creator and writer Bilal Baig) taking ownership of their identity and their relationships with wit and growing confidence.

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Heartstopper (2021–present)

One of Netflix’s biggest queer TV shows of the year, Heartstopper follows the unlikely friendship and eventual romance between gay and out nerd Charlie and rugby star Nick. Based on Alice Oseman’s graphic novels of the same name, the show has already been renewed for two more seasons. Look out for all the rainbows in the lighting and Oseman’s animations flitting across the screen.

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195 Lewis (2017)

Besides cable and other alternative TV services, many indie film productions have released content on YouTube. This web series follows a group of queer Black women living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Exploring polyamorous relationship structures with a light touch, the indie production features moving performances and very gay lighting in its apartment party scenes.

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Pose (2018–2021)

One of the most groundbreaking LGBTQ shows, Pose takes place in the emerging ballroom scene in ’80s and ’90s New York City as well as the evolving houses of chosen families and the growing community of activists. It’s the first major television show starring a predominantly Black trans woman cast, including recent Golden Globe winner Michaela Jaé Rodriguez.

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Sex Education (2019–present)

One of the biggest LGBTQ shows on Netflix is one of the biggest shows in the streaming platform’s history. Set in a U.K. secondary school amid bucolic landscapes, Sex Education follows a will-they-or-won’t-they pair of teens opening up a sex clinic. Featuring Ncuti Gatwa in a star turn, the show depicts Eric’s gay love triangle with humor.

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Orange Is the New Black (2013–2019)

One of streaming television’s earliest investments in LGBTQ shows, Orange Is the New Black is also one of the best shows on Netflix—and one of the most popular. Set in a federal women’s prison in upstate New York, the ensemble cast, including transgender actor Laverne Cox in a star turn, addresses race, sexuality, and incarceration with depth and humor.

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Steven Universe (2013–2019)

Created by Rebecca Sugar, this children’s cartoon features a catalog of adorable songs about emotional regulation and growing up. The gang of mythical beings, called the Crystal Gems, helps this kids’ TV show create a world that celebrates femininity, gender fluidity, and queerness.

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Love, Victor (2020–2022)

A spin-off of the 2018 film Love, Simon, this gay TV show follows a family uprooted from Texas to attend high school in Atlanta. The second season in particular addresses with nuance the ramifications of Victor’s coming out and how he, a masculine-of-center cis gay man, fits within broader queer spaces as well as what it means to be an LGBTQ ally.

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Schitt’s Creek (2015–2020)

This Canadian sitcom follows the demise of a once-wealthy family relocating to the titular small town. Starring father-son creators Eugene and Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek achieved particular notoriety when it entered the Netflix streaming catalog and is also on our list of the best sitcoms of all time.

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Veneno (2021)

Based on the true story of Spanish trans television personality Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez, this multigenerational limited queer show follows as La Veneno meets a young trans woman who wants to write a biography of her in the 2010s. Spliced with flashbacks to La Veneno’s rise to fame in the 1990s, the poignant Veneno depicts how much has changed and how much hasn’t.

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Conversations with Friends (2022)

This adaptation of the famed Sally Rooney novel follows Frances and Bobbi’s sudden friendship and eventual affair with a straight married couple. The translation from book to silver screen gives the show space to delve into the queer dimensions of the complicated relationships.

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Grace and Frankie (2015–2022)

This comedy centers the titular women and their late-in-life gay husbands, who have come out and announced their relationship with each other. The ensuing upending of lives results in an exploration of queer family structures in one of the funniest LGBTQ shows on Netflix.

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The Legend of Korra (2012–2014)

Gifted with the power to control earth, water, air, and fire, Korra comes of age with the future of the world on her shoulders. Originally airing on Nickelodeon and created for the family movie crowd, this spin-off of Avatar: The Last Airbender features a fairly subtle reference to queerness, but the controversial image is still an important moment in history for lesbian TV shows.

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Reservation Dogs (2021–present)

This show follows a group of Indigenous teens willing to do whatever it takes to leave a reservation in Oklahoma for the allure of California. Featuring an Indigenous production team and cast members, including queer Indigenous breakout actor Devery Jacobs, the dramedy demonstrates both Indigenous and Gen Z renditions of what it means to be queer and is set to delve even deeper into these themes in its second season.

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How to Get Away with Murder (2014–2020)

In addition to Viola Davis’s iconic performance as lawyer Annalise Keating, this Philadelphia-set crime show features some of the most explicit and persistent gay sex scenes (between Connor and Oliver) depicted on network television. Led by showrunner Pete Nowalk, How to Get Away with Murder unfolds more queer relationships over six seasons of seemingly never-ending twists for the ensemble cast’s fates.

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Please Like Me (2013–2016)

This dramedy series follows a group of Australian twentysomethings as they navigate bad jobs, difficult parents, and messy relationships. The pilot episode features creator, writer, and star Josh Thomas as Josh, who’s dumped by his girlfriend and then must tend to his mother after she attempts suicide. Please Like Me consistently offers a powerful blend of humor and depth.

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Killing Eve (2018–2022)

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer’s tour de force performances as Eve and Villanelle came to a close after four seasons this spring. This cat-and-mouse spy thriller follows Eve and the British intelligence agency MI6 as they attempt to dissolve the Twelve, an underground crime ring that employs Villanelle as an assassin. One of the most bingeable lesbian TV shows, Killing Eve garnered a slew of Emmy nominations in its four seasons, and Comer took home the trophy for Best Lead Actress in a Drama in 2019.

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Black Mirror: San Junipero (2016)

No, this isn’t an entire TV series with LGBTQ+ visibility, but hear us out. This much-celebrated episode of the Netflix dystopian anthology follows two women navigating a very queer simulation of time. Even as the constructs of Black Mirror ‘s trademark world-building become apparent, the story refuses certain queer tropes. This season-three episode is also remembered for putting bisexual lighting to glorious use.

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Euphoria (2019–present)

Adapted from an Israeli miniseries, the American version of Euphoria stars Zendaya as Rue, a recovering drug addict, and Hunter Shafer in a breakout role as Jules, a new-to-school trans girl. Beyond the development of Rue and Jules’s romance, the show is worth watching for its attention to lighting and all the incredible looks sported by the cast. If you like gritty teen movies, it’s time to add Euphoria to your queue.

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Will and Grace (1998–2006, 2017–2020)

This classic New York City ensemble sitcom has received justified criticism for its portrayal of queer characters, but it’s undeniable that Will and Grace ‘s outsize popularity made it one of the most successful shows with a queer lead in American television.

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Black Lightning (2018–2021)

This sci-fi drama follows a high school principal called back into superhero action when a criminal gang takes over his town. Over the course of the series, his daughters—including Anissa (Nafessa Williams), the first Black lesbian superhero on television—develop their own powers too.

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One Day at a Time (2017–2020)

Following a Cuban American family living in Los Angeles, this half-hour sitcom addresses the single mom’s PTSD and the eldest daughter’s sexuality. Her first love interest is nonbinary, and while the show does make nonbinary people the butt of some jokes, the relationship is still rendered with care. And good news for families looking to binge some LGBTQ shows together: The first three seasons of One Day at a Time are available on Netflix.

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Queer as Folk (2000–2005)

Based on a British TV series, the groundbreaking American adaptation of Queer as Folk depicts a group of gay friends in Pittsburgh. In addition to more graphic sex than had been shown on American television at the time, over five seasons the show portrayed drug use, gay club scenes, and discrimination. Like other classic gay TV shows from the ’90s and early 2000s, Queer as Folk is getting a modern update, with an adaptation premiering on Peacock this month.

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Ugly Betty (2006–2010)

The American adaptation of a Colombian telenovela, Ugly Betty features America Ferrera in a breakout role. A naive but ambitious journalist, the titular Betty (Ferrera) struggles to fit in at a mostly white, affluent fashion magazine. Costar Michael Urie plays her snarky colleague, and Mark Indelicato plays her queer teen brother in this cult TV show.

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Are You the One? Season 8 (2019)

You could watch all seasons of this MTV dating show, but if you’re looking for LGBTQ shows specifically, skip ahead to season eight. The reality show set a new standard in traditionally cis-heteronormative formats by casting a group of hot bisexual people in its eighth season. The drastic statistical increase in possible partnerships makes for wonderfully chaotic television. Season nine is in the works, though it’s unclear whether viewers are in for another spectacularly queer season.

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Special (2019–2021)

Featuring a gay man with cerebral palsy living in Los Angeles, it’s one of the few gay shows to address queerness and disability with the lightness of the sitcom format. Special stars creator Ryan O’Connell, who first came to fame with his listicle blogs on Thought Catalog in the early 2010s. You had to be there.

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Queer Eye (2018–present)

This Netflix reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (2003–2007) launched the careers of a new Fab Five—the Pride-flag-waving hosts who make over ordinary Americans—and sought to bring a wider representation to the subjects of its glow-ups, including a few transitioning heroes. This LGBTQ show has filmed most of its seasons in middle America but did a mini season in Japan in 2019.

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Her Story (2016)

This web series goes by in a breeze. The six 10-minute episodes center on two trans women (including Angelica Ross in a pre-Pose role) living in Los Angeles and navigating relationships and transphobia in queer communities.

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Tampa Baes (2021–present)

It’s the reality lesbian TV show we’ve all been waiting for! Tampa Baes follows a group of friends navigating the close-knit lesbian scene in Florida. This Amazon Prime TV show has it all, from aspirational beach backdrops to a queer take on the reality format.

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The Bold Type (2017–2021)

This Freeform series exemplifies the girl boss aesthetics of the late 2010s and pokes fun at New York City’s crumbling magazine and media industry. Beside her straight best friends, social media manager Kat Edison (Aisha Dee) grows into her sexuality in an on-again, off-again relationship with photographer Adena (Nikohl Boosheri).

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Betty (2020–2021)

This short-lived series centers on an all-girl group of skateboarders in New York City. While some of the leads are queer, Betty focuses first and foremost on the complexities and joys of the friendships among them.

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Modern Family (2009–2020)

One of the most enduring sitcoms of the 21st century and certainly one of the most-watched LGBTQ shows on TV, Modern Family follows three families in suburban Los Angeles, including a gay married couple. Like The Office, it takes a mockumentary format and sometimes veers into caricature, featuring many a limp wrist.

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Years and Years (2019)

A dystopian drama set in the early 2020s in the United Kingdom, Russell T. Davies’s limited series features an ensemble cast, including a queer couple navigating isolationist immigration policies. The plot is a thought-provoking exploration of transness—not transgenderism but transhumanism. Somehow the overtly bleak look to the future is affirming to our present.

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Dear White People (2017–2021)

This spin-off of the 2014 film of the same name follows nerdy and shy Lionel Higgins (DeRon Horton) as he comes to terms with his sexuality and finds a Black queer community at an elite, predominantly white college. The fourth season of Dear White People takes a turn with a musical within a musical, but the first three seasons are classic dramedy satire.

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The L Word (2004–2009) and The L Word: Generation Q (2019–present)

The canonical American lesbian TV show follows a group of queer women living in Los Angeles in the early 2000s. The L Word was lauded for its earnest depiction of lesbian and bisexual relationships and became a cult hit in the early aughts. The reboot’s attempt to broaden representation by depicting more trans people and the series’s first butch character was met with criticism, but The L Word: Generation Q is still a worthwhile and heartfelt watch.

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Master of None (2015–2021)

Helmed by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, Master of None stalled after its second season, during Ansari’s #MeToo incident in 2018. But the show returned in 2021 for a third and final season, becoming a full-on lesbian dramedy with its lens focused on Lena Waithe’s character, Denise. A critically lauded Thanksgiving episode in season two explored her background, and season three follows the early years of her marriage. Looking for ways to celebrate queer people after the credits roll? Support these LGBTQ-owned businesses.

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Cheer (2020–present)

This reality docuseries follows rival Texas community college cheer teams. While its fraught exploration of grooming and abuse raises important questions, Cheer also centers the vibrancy that queer people and Black queer culture bring to both teams’ sense of spirit.

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Looking (2014–2016)

This short-lived HBO series already feels like a relic of its time. Following a group of mostly white and thin gay men in a San Francisco not yet overwhelmed by Silicon Valley, Looking portrays their love and sex lives with tenderness and nuance.

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Genera+ion (2021)

Another of HBO’s short-lived LGBTQ shows, Genera+ion follows a group of Gen Z teenagers exploring their sexuality in Orange County, California. The abundance of high school hormones lead to a lot of entangled crushes and secret hookups, including a set of fraternal twins hooking up with the same guy.

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Glee (2009–2015)

This show trends on Twitter at least once every few months because there’s not a clip that can’t be taken out of context to great hilarity. Set in a high school in Ohio, the musical dramedy is part camp, part satire, and part fodder for sing-along-worthy soundtracks. The relationships between Santana and Brittany and Kurt and Blaine are a mess—but a wonderful mess that makes this classic lesbian and gay TV show worth a watch.

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Feel Good (2020–2021)

This British dramedy follows the lesbian relationship between Mae and George and addresses issues like PTSD, addiction recovery, class, and coming out. Star and writer Mae Martin earned accolades for the casual realism in the portrayal of the characters’ journeys.

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018–2020)

The latest adaptation of the Archie comic, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the teen horror you didn’t know you needed. It follows half-witch Sabrina as she comes to terms with her powers and does so with an irreverent sense of humor. Lachlan Watson stars as one of Sabrina’s best friends, a trans boy named Theo who navigates bullies and monsters of his own.

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It’s a Sin (2021)

Set in 1980s London, this LGBTQ show features a group of friends navigating the emerging HIV/AIDS crisis. As their friends become ill and die, the characters figure out how to take care of one another and navigate overt state disinformation campaigns in another Russell T. Davies creation.

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And Just Like That… (2021–present)

This Sex and the City reboot (which infamously reunited the original cast, save Kim Cattrall) demonstrates a concerted attempt to modernize the mores of the more than 20-year-old classic TV show. Now in middle age, Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda have queer friends and even a nonbinary love interest and nonbinary kid.

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Industry (2020–present)

The late-capitalist drama Industry follows a group of graduates fighting for a limited number of jobs at a London investment bank. The secret interracial gay relationship and the creepy client fall into some familiar tropes, but its soapy qualities don’t take away from its earnest interrogations of race, class, power, and sexuality.

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Originally Published: June 14, 2022


Source: https://www.rd.com/list/lgbtq-shows/

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