Storytelling is a very important thing. In fact, it is a responsibility. It is through stories that the world gets to know about various things — from the depths of human emotions to the issues that plague society. Hence, it becomes an even more important task to tell the stories of the minority sectors of society. Keep them at the centre of a story and show the world a glimpse of what their real lives can be like. This is why diversity is important, not just in the hiring of actors, but also in the sketching of the characters. The LGBTQ+ community rarely gets to see someone like them at the centre of a show; quite often, they have to be content as a sidekick. But times are changing now and more and more LGBT characters are becoming parts of all kinds of stories. With that said, here’s the list of really good LGBTQ shows on Netflix that are available to stream right now:
16. House of Cards (2013 – 2018)
Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ started on a very good note. It was even one of its most popular shows. But then, the Kevin Spacey scandal emerged, and things soon went downhill for the show as well. If you can separate it from its controversies, ‘House of Cards’ is still a very enjoyable show. It is mostly about politics and minorly takes a detour in other directions. The show was bold about a lot of things, one of which included Frank Underwood’s characterization as a bisexual man. Since the story didn’t build much on that prospect, this show might not be so ideal. Still, it is only one of the handfuls that place an LGBTQ+ character in the lead role.
15. Super Drags (2018)
‘Super Drags’ is a Brazilian adult-animated comedy that follows the story of three drag queens who are superheroes, out in the world with only one mission — protecting LGBT people. The main villain is an evil queen who hatches all sorts of malignant plans to push the superheroes to accept defeat. But through each other’s help and support, the Super Drags always manage to defeat her. The show uses its fantastic setting to poke on the attitude of the society towards LGBT community and how people have to channel the superhero within them to handle the mistreatment that the society throws at them every day.
14. The L Word (2004 – 2009)
If you love watching shows that are centred entirely on relationships, where characters follow a series of make-ups and break-ups and hook-ups and what not, then ‘The L Word’ will be a perfect watch for you. The story follows the lives of a group of women, all of whom are either lesbians or bisexuals. So, here, you have a show purely concentrated on the trials and tribulations of non-straight people. From coming out stories to couples trying to start a family to come to terms with one’s innate nature, the diverse characters bring all these struggles on the same screen.
13. Gypsy (2017)
‘Gypsy’ stars Naomi Watts as a psychiatrist named Jean Holloway. She is married and has a child, but she wants to break free from the mundane cycle her life has been caught up in and wants to do something exciting. Her patients become the source of great stories for her and she decides to take her job one step further. She begins to indulge herself in their lives under an alias. Her life becomes a bit too exciting when she falls for one of her patients’ ex-girlfriend.
12. Everything Sucks! (2018)
If the title of this show is the tagline of your life’s story, then you should head over to the comedy section of Netflix. There are some great sitcoms that’ll make your day, and ‘Everything Sucks!’ is one of them. Boring is a small town in Oregon and this is where the story of this show is set. At the centre of it are two social outcasts who try to do something radical — making a film about the school. This becomes the premise for further struggles in love and personal lives. One of the boys falls in love with the principal’s daughter, Kate. She is a great character because, through her, we see someone exploring their sexuality and checking out all options, making sure they know who they are, before settling on anything.
11. Lost Girl (2010 – 2015)
‘Lost Girl’ is a Canadian supernatural drama which follows the story of a woman trying to come to terms with her identity as a succubus. When Bo accidentally kills her high-school boyfriend, she runs away from home to spend the rest of her days as a drifter. One day, she saves a woman from a rapist, and they become friends. The story further follows Bo’s attempts to understand the nature of her power and her introduction to more people like her. While tackling the nature of a story about sexual encounters, to use a straight person as the lead character would have been a very limiting choice. It’s great that the storytellers decided against that because Bo’s bisexuality works wonderfully for her storyline.
10. Wynonna Earp (2016 – present)
Talk about badass sidekicks and the name of Waverly Earp comes to mind. She is the lead character, Wynonna’s half-sister, and an expert on the history of their family name. Actually, she is an expert at almost anything! The show follows the story of Earp sister, primarily Wynonna, as they try to let what’s dead be dead. Embracing their legacy as the saviour of the world from the supernatural dangers, the Earp sisters unite with a black-ops division of the government to fulfill their duties. Waverly and Nicole, the deputy sheriff of the town, hit off with sizzling chemistry in their first encounter, and eventually become a couple that the whole fandom had been shipping.
9. Sense8 (2015 – 2018)
‘Sense8’ follows the story of a group of people who discover that they are mentally and emotionally linked to each other. Through this connection, they can share all that they know. However, they don’t know the reason behind this ability. The show is praised for using all of its main characters to add some diversity to its cast. By setting them in different parts of the world, it uses their storylines to highlight the problems in different sections and communities of the world. One of the eight “sensates”, as they grow to call themselves, is Nomi Marks. Nomi is a transgender who is a hacktivist living in San Francisco. She is shown as a strong and determined character and will easily become your favourite of all.
8. Eastsiders (2012 – Present)
Set in Los Angeles, ‘Eastsiders’ follows the story of a gay couple who tries to set right the dynamics of their relationship. Cal and Thom have been together for four years, but it becomes difficult to keep it running when Cal discovers that Thom has been cheating on him with someone else. Furious and heartbroken, he decides not to break-up with Thom because he loves him too much for that, but agrees with himself that payback is in order. Thus, a series of infidel affairs and the unhampered use of drugs leads them down a very difficult path. Apart from them, Kathy, Cal’s best friend, also comes to the limelight, from time to time.
7. The Fosters (2013 – 2018)
‘The Fosters’ follows the story of a couple who struggle to raise their children — biological, adopted and foster kids. Stef and Lena are at the centre of it. Stef is a cop and Lena is a school vice principal. Together, they raise a bunch of kids with mixed ethnicities and face the challenges that come at every turn. The story starts with two foster kids arriving at their home. Meanwhile, their relationship with Stef’s biological son and the twins they had adopted also drive the plot of the story. Speaking in terms of representation, ‘The Fosters’ proves itself to be a very inclusive show and tries to show the world from everyone’s perspective.
6. Sex Education (2019 – Present)
‘Sex Education’ is a romantic comedy that premiered this year on Netflix and became a popular watch. While most of its focus lies on the sex lives of the teenagers, there is the representation of LGBTQ+ community that it handles very well, brutally well, in fact. Otis’s best friend, Eric, is portrayed as a black gay teen, coming from a religious family. Throughout the whole season, Eric goes through a very difficult time and struggles with accepting his identity. His character goes through a major developmental arc and, glad to say, the season ends on a very high note for him. Eric is a great character, perhaps even the best in the show, and everyone can learn a thing or two from him, no matter what their sexuality.
5. Queer Eye (2018 – Present)
Everyone needs a break from life, every now and then. And a make-over is a great way to implement something new, stir things up a bit and keep it exciting. However, most people don’t get the time to channel that side of theirs and end up leading morose lives. The Fab Five were brought back for this very reason, for helping people change their life. In every episode, a person is nominated. This person could need help with anything, to prepare themselves for a first date or needing a confidence boost for their upcoming interviews. When the Fab Five are done with you, you’ll not be the same person again.
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4. London Spy (2015)
Out of the countless things that have been stereotyped by the world is the character of a spy. In every film or TV show that you watch, a good spy is either a suave, chick-magnet who can seduce any woman in his vicinity or a Black Widow-ish woman, whose charms are as deadly as her strength to kill you with her thighs! While these characters are appealing to the audience, the question arises: are only straight people tailored for this job? Why can’t an LGBT person pull this off? If you’re wondering about this, then ‘London Spy’ is the show you must watch. If you’re not, then you can still watch it, it’s pretty great. It stars Ben Whishaw as Daniel, a man who discovers that his boyfriend was a spy. In order to find the truth about his death, Daniel embarks on a mission that will pit him against some of the deadliest people in the business.
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3. One Day at a Time (2017-2019)
One of Netflix’s most acclaimed and popular comedies, which was surprisingly canceled this year, ‘One Day at a Time’ follows the day-to-day struggles of a Cuban-American family. At the centre of the story is Penelope. A war veteran, she works as a nurse and tries to raise her children with the help of her mother after separating from her husband. While there are a lot of themes that this show assimilates in its storyline, one of the most prominent ones is homosexuality. Elena is Penelope’s teenage daughter who discovers that she is a lesbian. It is through her story that the struggles of homosexuals in getting acceptance from society are shown.
2. Queer as Folk (1999-2000)
‘Queer as Folk’ is a British series that stars Aiden Gillen, Craig Kelly and Charlie Hunnam in the lead roles. The story follows the lives of three gay men living in Manchester. Gillen plays Stuart Jones, an advertising executive who is as successful in his sexual life as he is in his professional one. His long-time friend Vince, played by Kelly, harbours feelings for him but has never been able to express. His sexual life is a day-to-day struggle and his fixation with Stuart doesn’t help. Hunnam plays the role of a teenage boy named Nathan Maloney who is new to this scene, having only recently discovered this side of himself. The show was a critical success, and there is a slight rumour going around that it might be revived.
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1. Orange is the New Black (2013 – Present)
Based on the memoirs of Piper Kerman, ‘Orange is the New Black’ is one of the most acclaimed shows of Netflix. The series will end its run this year, so it’ll be great for you to finish all the seasons before the final one premieres. The lead of this story is Piper Chapman, a woman who is convicted for the smuggling of drugs, something she had done almost ten years ago. Removed from her life of peace and tranquil with her family and fiancée, Piper is sent to a minimum-security prison where she reflects on her life decisions while developing new relationships with other inmates.
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