LGBTQ+ representation and characters in the media so often disappoint audiences. Sidelined for the main white, straight character. A sidekick who has no real personality, their only real personality trait is their sexuality. No real storyline, only supporting the protagonist. However, these recent years certain T.V shows and movies have really upped their game. Here are some of the best LGBTQ+ representations in films and shows.
Orange Is The New Black
One of Netflix’s most successful original shows, Orange Is The New Black. Praised for its representation of women and queer people, this show broke boundaries. Throughout the show, audiences are treated to several different relationships between women. This included both platonic and romantic. Laverne Cox also made history as the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy. Not only were gender and sexuality issues discussed, but important issues too. Including storylines about ICE in later seasons demonstrated how important shows like OITNB are. Having LGBTQ+ characters getting a happy ending in a show set in prison really tops it off.
Taking both the internet and LGBTQ+ community by storm is the new Swedish drama, Young Royals. Focusing on the crowned prince, although a teen drama, this show highlights some important issues and problems faced today. The show received praise for subverting stereotypes in LGBTQ+ media and content. So often LGBTQ media uses the same trivial issues and conflict, which can be quite boring for audiences. However, the two protagonists of this drama successfully communicated their feelings throughout, even if that ending did leave viewers wanting more.
A newer Netflix trilogy in this list, based on the best-selling book series, is Fear Street. We follow lesbian couple Deena and Sam, who try to save their small town Shadyside from an evil force. Fans praised this trilogy for entering a queer love story, something that isn’t always executed well in media. Our protagonists include queer characters as well as people of colour, who SPOILER ALERT all survive. Olivia Scott Welch, who plays Sam, mentioned that she can’t remember seeing a film where two queer women are the main characters and ‘save the day’. In addition to this, our horror movie that has a happy ending will always put a smile on viewers’ faces.
This award-winning film received critical praise for its storytelling as well as its significant portrayal of a black gay man. A coming-of-age story, this film followed Chiron through three different stages in his life. We see Chiron navigate all different aspects of his life. This includes heartbreaking relationships, complicated friendships, his sexuality, and his identity. Viewers get to experience this truly breathtaking film in all of its glory, but it also demonstrated that a gay man in America doesn’t mean just one thing. In addition, Moonlight received the Best Picture at the Oscars, the first film with an all-black cast and LGBTQ storyline to do so.
One of the most popular Netflix series at the moment, this coming-of-age dramedy has a huge fanbase. One of the reasons is the representation of the queer community. This show follows Otis, Eric, and Maeve, the school’s ‘sex therapists’. A significant moment for the second series – the inclusion of asexuality, something that so often gets missed. The media rarely covers asexuality, especially when talking about sex. This, along with so many other important moments has allowed so many young people to come to terms with their sexuality. Sex Education has no shame in tackling difficult and sensitive subjects as well as including a diverse representation of the queer community.
Sense8 is quite possibly one of the most diverse and LGBTQ+ positive T.V shows. Although many viewers found the premise and storyline confusing, that can’t take away the fact of how important this show was. Known for its explicit sex scenes, Sense8 told the story of eight people born on the same day, all connected to each other. It was also inclusive both in front and behind the camera. Lana and Lily Wachowski, the co-creators are both transgender. Jamie Clayton, who played Nomi is a trans actor playing a trans character. Lito’s character was also a gay Latino man coming to terms with his sexuality.
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