LGBTQ+ representation means a lot to many different people.
Seeing themselves represented anywhere (especially mainstream media) usually changes lives.
Below, we compiled a list of some of the best LGBTQ+ representations on TV this past year.
These items are in no particular order!
Make sure to comment below to add your input!
The Morning Show
Bradley and Laura’s LGBT subplot was legit and believable. Granted, the idea that unmarried people being outed in the press would constitute a scandal or a story that could be used for leverage is so 2013. That aspect was forced, for sure.
The amusing and ironic part of the Bradley/Laura thing, though, is Laura trying to convince Bradley to use her identity politics to get ahead in her career.
I don’t imagine Apple+ planned that irony, but it wasn’t lost on us. And the relationship between the two ended up being very sweet and hopeful.
It’s no secret that the Chucky franchise has always been pro-queer, and luckily the series matches the original films’ level.
Jake and Devon’s teen romance is a bit cheesy amidst the splatter, but that’s part of why the splatter is so effective.
But the queerness of the characters seems to be reflective of how far we’ve come (in reality, not television) when it comes to acceptance and lack of stigmatic shame while growing up.
It’s a fascinating time to have such acceptance grow in the last few years, and now we start to see the result in shows like Chucky.
4400 not only features multiple trans and lesbian characters but treats them with care and dignity — and even gives some of the superpowers!
It helps that many of 4400’s actors and writers are LGBTQ+.
Shows like 4400 are doing the work to present LGBTQ+ stories and let them take charge of their narrative.
Y: The Last Man
The original Y: The Last Man comic book series was reductive at best regarding gender.
When it came to adapting it for a more modern, inclusive landscape, showrunner Eliza Clark made the point that gender and sex are both part of vast spectrums that chromosomes cannot define.
By adding Sam (Elliot Fletcher), a transman out of place in a world of primarily ciswomen, Y: The Last Man highlighted a perspective that has been largely absent from the post-apocalypse genre.
Dafne and The Rest
The group of LGBTQ friends’ intertwined relationships is delightful and believable.
Maybe the success is owed to casting real-life friends in the roles.
Though fictional, showrunner Abril Zamora taps into authentic experiences to deliver the aftermath of reassignment surgery and the fallout of her former gay male relationship.
It’s A Sin
It’s A Sin is an emotionally touching and powerful limited series. Focusing on the HIV/Aids crisis in the UK in the 80s, the series gives a deeper look into how a group of friends (and the community) were dealing with the rising epidemic.
Ritchie (played by Years and Years’ Olly Alexander) and his friends are all well-written characters, each with their wants and needs trying to live their lives and their varying stances of the epidemic through an ’80s lens.
This is a great limited series about LGBTQIA+ characters and a moment of history told in an impactful way.
Nicole and Waverly are the perfect couples, and their relationship brought tears to our eyes with how great the representation was.
Jeremy’s side wasn’t all happy, as Earp’s final season had Jeremy deal with his boyfriend forgetting everything and everyone.
Robin and Jeremy were such a cute couple, and seeing Jeremy’s emotional struggle brought tears to our eyes (but this time, sad tears).
But watching such a powerful Lesbian couple on screen was a fantastic privilege, and we have Earp to thank for that!
Station 19 has a handful of queer characters, three of the primary ones with well-rounded storylines about but never limited to their sexuality.
Maya’s arc as a woman learning to overcome an abusive childhood is compelling, and she finds solace within her relationship and now marriage with Carina. Carina found real love with Maya, and now the two are the marriage goals and most solid, stable, healthiest romantic relationship of the series.
Travis’ journey with happily living within his sexuality is a testament to how non-linear that journey can be, especially when unpacking things like his parents’ slow acceptance and his father’s journey toward coming out of the closet.
The characters are out and proud but never reduced to their sexuality or tokenized, and it’s refreshing.
The Big Leap
Justin and Simon are at the forefront of the LGBTQIA representation on The Big Leap, whose love story was one of the most engaging arcs on the series as the series deftly touched on some of the cultural components of sexuality and toxic masculinity with Justin’s respective journey toward embracing his sexuality.
The series not only explored Justin’s internalized homophobia but astutely delved into femmephobia.
But never once was any of this preachy, and overall, the dance show had a plethora of queer characters from Wayne, to Monica, and Travell and Ladon, and all with different journeys and arcs in an environment where they could fully be themselves freely and authentically without it ever being a huge deal.
The groundbreaking series is historical in its storytelling and progressive exploration of LGBTQ+ issues and lifestyles.
The series even led to MJ Rodriguez’s historic Emmy nomination in the Leading Actress role.
The unflinching look into the ballroom scene and the HIV epidemic that ravaged a community in the 80s and 90’s, showing the loss, love, wins, trials, family, and friendship, and all-around life of multi-faceted LGBTQ+ characters with nuance, make Pose one of the best series of all time.
Naturally, the spinoff from The Fosters would excel with its queer characters and their respective journeys throughout the show.
Gael’s ongoing arc with maintaining a relationship with his conservative, Catholic family while demanding they respect him as a bisexual man is often where he shines.
He finds support in his transgender sister, Jasmine, who faces her rocky journey with their parents.
Alice deals with love triangles, her aspiring career as a comedienne, a Korean family who is clumsy in supporting their gay daughter, and Malika’s sexual fluidity. At the same time, she tries to make sense of a poly lifestyle, which is deeply integrated into the series.
While many other series (like 9-1-1, 9-1-1:Lonestar, to name a few) also have great representation, we wanted to highlight some of our favorites.
This is not to take away from any other LGTBQIA+ representation on other shows!
However, we would like to point out that shows like American Horror Story, and its counterpart American Horror Stories, need to work on making their representation more respectful and inclusive.
Making LGBTQIA+ characters respectable and natural isn’t hard to do, and we hope that other shows can match the ones we mentioned in our list!
American Horror Story Franchise
Unfortunately, all representation isn’t good, and the American Horror Story franchise can’t seem to get it right.
In a TV World where LGBTQ+ characters are growing ubiquitous, so many shows are throwing them everywhere, whether helpful for the plot or not. American Horror Stories, the new anthology spinoff of American Horror Story, pretty much overbalanced gay characters to a distracting extent.
If the series were titled Gay Horror Stories, the oversaturation would be justified. But as it stands now, several episodes are predominantly gay-centric and imply gay people have it really frickin’ easy when it comes to finding love.
It is not easy, though, and community members often have to rely on hookup apps and/or the ever-diminishing gay bar to even meet singles (or those pretending to be single).
Some may argue it should be easy in the real world, or that the method presented in the series is one of hope, or that a fictional program ought not concern itself with reality.
But when TV World authoritarians decide programming needs to reflect real life ratios of the “marginalized,” over-presenting them is neither helpful nor accurate. It’s farcical.
Similar to American Horror Stories, American Horror Story: Double Feature fell into the same problems that many Ryan Murphy series have experienced with its LGBTQIA+ representation.
In this case, it’s the over-sexualizing of its characters and how it references the community. It’s a harmful stereotype in the TV/film landscape to generalize the community as only being about sex.
Granted, some history and areas are about sex (as with other communities), but a generalization shouldn’t give AHS a pass to make their LGBTQIA+ representation as being mostly sexual.
It would be nice for the characters to be layered instead of being the vehicle (usually a twentysomething attractive man) to talk about sex moves and kinks, having sex, and history/town facts about having sex.
Can you think of any other shows/examples that should make our list?
Let us know in the comments below!