In an age where queerbaiting and toxic queer characterization still remain prevalent in many forms of media, it may seem hard to find that perfect TV series with good and authentic LGBTQ+ rep. Fortunately, a good number of shows have been known to go the extra mile in giving the community the representation they deserve. So sit back, relax, and get ready to binge!
You may recognize this series’ lead actress, Brianna Hildebrand, from her role in Deadpool as Negasonic Warhead. Here she plays Elodie, a grieving teen who ends up forming a close bond with two of her classmates after they end up in the same Shoplifters Anonymous group. Apart from tackling themes like loss and friendship, this show also delves into Elodie’s sexuality as a lesbian, sans the usual coming-out-storyline and instead, into her awkwardness as she interacts with the girl she likes. It’s a healthy portrayal of same-sex attraction and could pave the way for a more normalized depiction of LGBT couple storylines in television.
Sex Education (2019)
This heartwarming show centers on Otis—a teenager with a sex therapist mom—who teams up with his classmate Maeve to start a sex therapy clinic at their school. There are too many great things about this series, and one of those is how it includes characters from all over the spectrum. This show boasts inclusivity, diversity, and healthy normalization of LGBT relationships. We watch characters like Eric, Otis’ gay best friend, tackle bullying from homophobia, while living with his conservative family’s religious beliefs. Other characters are also seen discovering their bisexuality and pansexuality. A standout scene from Season 2 shows one of the characters coming to terms with being asexual, as Otis’ mom tells her, “Sex doesn’t make us whole. And so, how could you ever be broken?”
Well-known for its unique premise, Sense8 tells the story of eight strangers around the world who share a psychic and empathetic connection, using their shared consciousness to survive being hunted down. Co-created by transgender sisters Lana and Lilly Wachowski, this show features gay, lesbian, and trans characters in key roles.
Examples include Nomi, a transgender lesbian hacktivist who is also played by transgender actress Jamie Clayton, and Lito, a gay Mexican actor, a great character with many heartwarming scenes, one of which being his speech during a São Paulo LGBT Pride event. This show definitely transcends both geographical and gender boundaries, as these eight characters continuously occupy each other’s bodies, lives, and sexual identities.
Wynonna Earp (2016)
With three seasons under its belt and a fourth one already in the works, this comic-based supernatural series is definitely on a roll. Wynonna Earp tells the story of its titular character, the great, great granddaughter of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, as she returns to her hometown to take on her role as its demon protector. Apart from its action-packed yet heartfelt depiction of family and friendship, this show has been a big hit in the queer community because of its famous “WayHaught” ship, featuring characters Waverly (Wynonna’s younger sister) and Nicole (the sheriff’s deputy). Lesbian rep on TV hasn’t always been the best, which is why fans hold this duo very closely to their hearts. It’s refreshing to see two women who are sure and open about their sexuality, and seeing the spark of their first interaction from the get-go, skipping past the usual same-sex couple tropes.
Orange is the New Black (2013)
This Emmy-winning comedy-drama follows New Yorker Piper Chapman, as she gets convicted for a past crime that lands her in a women’s prison, bringing her face to face with the reality of life behind bars. This show has been praised for its genuine and complex portrayal of queer women through its characters.
Apart from protagonist Piper who is very much open about her sexual fluidity, we have other memorable storylines as well such as that of transgender inmate Sophia Burset (played by transgender actress Laverne Cox), as she deals with the struggles of maintaining her gender identity and fighting against transphobia. Overall, this series has been a breakthrough in terms of getting good LGBT rep for television, as it sensitively tackles the diverse lives of queer women while breaking the stereotypes that come with it.