It seems ludicrous that there was a time, not too long ago, when LGBTQ+ TV shows weren’t standard fare. Perhaps one would come out every couple of years, run for a few seasons, make history, and then fizzle out. Thankfully, the television landscape has changed tremendously in the past decade. There are shows that have queer characters, shows that are inherently queer, and shows that lampoon major corporations trying to pass off amorphous goo as queer representation. What more could you ask for?
If you’ve found yourself looking to watch something that falls into one of those categories (or somewhere in between), we’ve compiled the best LGBTQ+ TV shows that are streaming now. From RuPaul’s Drag Race to Harley Quinn, you can find them all below.
28. Queer as Folk (2022)
For better or worse, the short-lived reboot of Russell T Davies’s groundbreaking series seemed determined to atone for the original’s soapy depiction of queer life. Starring Devin Way, Fin Argus, and Ryan O’Connell, Queer as Folk follows a diverse New Orleans community in the aftermath of a tragedy that recalls the 2016 Pulse shooting. If you don’t mind such trauma underscoring this entertainingly messy web of characters, it’s a drama worth dipping into.
27. Sex Education (2019)
The relationship between Sex Education’s Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and Adam (Connor Swindells) has its issues, but Gatwa is such a standout in the acclaimed series that most are worth overlooking. He’s just that magnetic. The show otherwise follows Otis (Asa Butterfield), a high school student who sets up an underground sex therapy clinic with another one of his classmates (Emma Mackey). Mixing frank discussions with impossible-to-hate characters, Sex Education has been a boon for Netflix since its debut—and it’s never too late to hop on the bandwagon.
26. Drag Me to Dinner (2023)
A whirlwind of a reality show, Drag Me to Dinner throws some of the biggest names in drag into the kitchen. Sort of. Each episode sees two pairs of queens (the first episode pits Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme against Jackie Beat and Sherry Vine) face off in a thematic dinner party battle. Decor, food, and cocktails must all be prepared, and the presentations are never what you expect them to be. (A speakeasy? A murder mystery? A cake birth?!) At the end of the day, it’s a showcase for the sheer creative force that is drag, so you may as well give in to the chaos and allow it to entertain you at every unpredictable turn.
25. The Sex Lives of College Girls (2021)
Cocreated by Mindy Kaling, Sex Lives of College Girls is a romp that follows four roommates as they deal with the many ups and downs of newfound independence. Reneé Rapp’s Leighton, a wealthy legacy student, is a standout; her role as the group’s obligatory über-confident mean girl is quickly subverted when she begins coming to terms with her sexuality. And though the girls’ love interests come and go, their friendship remains the series’ secret weapon.
24. XO, Kitty (2023)
XO, Kitty could have fallen flat in the shadow of the movies it was spun off from, but Anna Cathcart works wonders as a younger sister finally stepping into the spotlight. Set after the To All the Boys films, this series follows Cathcart’s Kitty Song Covey halfway across the world as she attempts to reconnect with her long-distance boyfriend. On her own for the first time, though, the character who once considered herself an expert on love realizes she has much more to learn. At turns clever, heartwarming, and over-the-top, XO, Kitty is better than it has any right to be. (See for yourself.)
23. Elite (2018)
This soapy Spanish series makes for quite the guilty pleasure binge-watch. With six seasons already under its belt, Elite blends murder-mystery elements with high school drama to addicting effect; the relationships are explosive, the parties are deadly, and the characters are their own worst enemies. What more could you want?
22. The L Word: Generation Q (2019)
Though you’ll probably want to shake the screen in frustration (repeatedly!), this continuation of The L Word follows characters new and old as they stumble through self-discovery and love. Jennifer Beals, Kate Moennig, and Leisha Hailey, who reprise their roles from the original series, are joined by an ensemble of actors as diverse as the characters they portray. Despite—or perhaps because of—how messy the series gets, it’s hard not to fall for them.
21. Harley Quinn (2019)
Yes, there is a currently airing show in which Harley Quinn (voiced by Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (voiced by Lake Bell) have a heartfelt conversation about their relationship while in the midst of a satanic orgy. This series, which is as off-the-wall as that last sentence would have you believe, leans into all of the characters’ worst instincts—and is all the better for it. Sure, it’s blood-soaked and obnoxious. But if you squint, it’s also a meditation on revenge, love, and choosing to do the right thing.
20. Yellowjackets (2021)
Speaking of blood-soaked…
What would happen if a high school girls soccer team was stranded in the wilderness for 19 months? Yellowjackets attempts to answer that question—with cannibalism, romance, and a healthy dose of mysticism mixed in for good measure. While teasing anything about the lives of the survivors would spoil some storylines for the uninitiated, rest assured that it’s a series you can sink your teeth into. And besides, we can always use more citizen detectives.
19. We’re Here (2020)
If you prefer shows that will tug at your heartstrings, We’re Here is one you shouldn’t miss. Starring Drag Race alumni Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara, and Shangela, this award-winning reality series follows the trio to small towns across America as they recruit locals to star in a one-night-only show—and dispel harmful stereotypes along the way.
18. Euphoria (2019)
What else is there to say about HBO’s hyperstylized teen drama? Euphoria follows an ensemble led by Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, and Jacob Elordi as they deal with every issue under the sun. At its heart, though, are relationships so raw they are constantly coming apart at the seams. It’s far from a show for everyone, but the special episodes released in 2020 and 2021 are, at least, beautiful showcases of the series at its best.
17. Dickinson (2019)
This anachronistic delight depicts Emily Dickinson’s life as her writing leads her to run up against gender roles, sexual identity, and other standards of her era. The series stars Hailee Steinfeld, and its beating heart is Dickinson’s relationship with Sue (Ella Hunt), her best friend turned sister-in-law, whom she reckons with ever-evolving feelings for. With guest stars including John Mulaney (as Henry David Thoreau), Ziwe (as Sojourner Truth), and Billy Eichner (as Walt Whitman), what’s not to love?
16. Schitt’s Creek (2015)
If you don’t already love Schitt’s Creek, you know someone who does. (Or someone whose mom does.) The show, which started as a small Canadian sitcom, became such a phenomenon in its final seasons that it swept all seven major comedy categories at the 2020 Emmys. It follows the once wealthy Rose family (Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Levy, and Annie Murphy) as they relocate to a small town—and it’s simply the best.
15. Hacks (2021)
Jean Smart stars as a legendary stand-up comedian whose fading legacy demands she take a younger writer, played by Hannah Einbinder, under her wing. The two have an electric chemistry, and their exploits take them across America as they confront the worst parts of their pasts. (And survive a lesbian cruise.) Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Kaitlin Olson, Paul W. Downs, and Megan Stalter round out the exceptional cast.
14. Veneno (2020)
Veneno is a powerful limited series that spotlights just how vibrant and resilient the queer community is. Based on the true story of Spanish trans icon Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez, better known as La Veneno, the series delves into the complexities of gender identity and sexuality, showcasing the challenges faced by trans individuals while celebrating their triumphs. It’s a must-watch for anyone—especially given the current war against transgender rights.
13. Los Espookys (2019)
Perhaps the most delightfully quirky show on this list, Los Espookys is an utterly original comedy that embraces the absurd. It follows a group of friends in a fictional Latin American country who turn their love for horror into a business—all the while seamlessly weaving queer characters and stereotype-defying storylines into the fabric of its humor. Andrés (Julio Torres) is putting up with the future husband his parents chose for him. Tati (Ana Fabrega) navigates both her romantic relationships and her role in the group with incredible, dim-witted charm. Oh, and did we mention it casts Kim Petras as secretary of state?
12. Gentleman Jack (2019)
Gentleman Jack is a rare historical drama that shines a spotlight on a real queer figure. It’s focused on the life of Anne Lister (Suranne Jones), a 19th-century English woman who inherited her uncle’s estate. The series fearlessly explores Anne’s life as a lesbian woman navigating a society that refuses to accept her. Through her unapologetic character—and her character’s dangerous love affair with Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle)—Gentleman Jack sheds light on a hidden part of history through the lens of a can’t-look-away drama.
11. Interview With the Vampire (2022)
This fresh adaptation of Anne Rice’s 1976 novel was one of 2022’s best TV shows. The series, starring Jacob Anderson and Sam Reid, is a gothic tour de force; it centers on the life of Louis de Pointe du Lac (Anderson) as he recalls being seduced and turned into a vampire by the deadly Lestat de Lioncourt (Reid). Unlike the 1994 film, Interview With the Vampire embraces the queer elements of the story, making its central relationship as beautiful and passionate as it is toxic.
10. Our Flag Means Death (2022)
Knowing that Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi portray two pirates who fall in love should be enough to convince you to watch this television show, but what if I told you that the rest of the cast is just as charming? Our Flag Means Death is loosely based on the life of Stede Bonnet (Darby), a well-to-do aristocrat who turns to piracy because, well, he feels like it. The series follows his crew as they struggle to survive at sea and earn the reputations they desire. With a second season on the way, can they keep such a good thing going? Only time will tell.
9. RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009)
Starting RuPaul’s Drag Race is an undertaking that will take you well beyond Pride Month. The Emmy-winning series, which concluded its 15th season this year, has been an unrivaled force in helping drag cross over into the mainstream. Legendary performers like Alyssa Edwards, Sasha Colby, and Trixie Mattel have walked the runway, and though some seasons are better than others, it’s impossible to quantify the impact the show has had on a generation of queer people. No, it isn’t perfect by any means. But it’s pretty damn entertaining.
Pro tip: If the show’s original filter scares you off, try starting from season four.
8. The Last of Us (2023)
Despite the bleak world the series takes place in, HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us offered up some of this year’s most poignant moments. Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie’s (Bella Ramsey) quest for survival anchors the zombie tale, but the show’s way of developing side characters such as Kathleen (Melania Lynskey), Bill (Nick Offerman), and Frank (Murray Bartlett) is what made its first season a phenomenon. Just make sure you have tissues handy.
7. The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
The queer love story in the second installment of Netflix’s Haunting anthology sneaks up on you, and that’s precisely what makes it so potent. The Haunting of Bly Manor, based on the works of Henry James, tells the story of those caught in the supernatural goings-on of the eponymous manor. Victoria Pedretti plays Dani, an American woman who flees tragedy and begins working as an au pair for the children who live there. Others caught in the manor’s tragic web include the housekeeper (T’Nia Miller), the gardener (Amelia Eve), and the cook (Rahul Kohli). Telling you how, exactly, would ruin the fun.
6. A League of Their Own (2022)
An adaptation of the 1992 film of the same name, A League of Their Own stars Abbi Jacobson, D’Arcy Carden, and Chanté Adams as players for the World War II–era Rockford Peaches. The series explores queerness, race, and gender identity in ways the film shied away from (spoiler alert: Jacobson’s Carson has a passionate affair with Carden’s Greta), and the long-form narrative gives more team members space to develop. An added bonus? It’s one of the funniest shows streaming now.
5. It’s a Sin (2021)
Created by Russell T Davies (the mind behind the original Queer as Folk), It’s a Sin follows a group of gay men and their friends during the AIDS crisis. The miniseries takes place over the span of a decade, detailing each character’s attempt to live fully despite the threat that seems to circle ever closer. Olly Alexander stars, Lydia West shines, and Callum Scott Howells will break your heart.
4. Pose (2018)
This groundbreaking series starring Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Dominique Jackson, and Indya Moore (among many others) is set in the world of New York’s underground ball culture. It portrays the struggles and celebrations of larger-than-life characters loosely inspired by those who defined queerness for a generation—and rarely does a show balance darkness and light as well as this one. (See: season two’s “Never Knew Love Like This Before.”) Pose, much like its characters, is truly one of a kind.
3. Heartstopper (2022)
If you need a show that feels like a warm hug, look no further. Heartstopper tells the story of Nick (Kit Connor) and Charlie (Joe Locke), two boys who fall for each other after crossing paths at school. Nick, “a rugby player with the demeanor of a golden retriever,” has always thought of himself as straight, but his journey of self-discovery runs alongside Charlie’s quest for a bit of self-confidence. It isn’t a spoiler to tell you that there is no tragedy here; none of the students at their British all-boys school develop a mysterious illness, nor do any of their friends suddenly vanish. (Perhaps the most shocking twist comes when Nick’s mother, portrayed by a certain celebrated actor, first appears onscreen.) It’s sweet, it’s refreshing, and it’s already been renewed for another season.
2. What We Do in the Shadows (2019)
What We Do in the Shadows is a brilliant show on multiple fronts: It’s a hilarious mockumentary-style comedy; it deftly incorporates queer identities; and it proves that some people really do just suck the fun out of a room. The series follows a group of eccentric vampires and their familiar as they navigate the modern world. Guillermo, the loyal human played by Harvey Guillén, is a particular bright spot as he embarks on a journey of self-discovery and grapples with his own identity and sexuality.
1. The Other Two (2019)
No show has its finger on the pulse quite like The Other Two does. The series revolves around two siblings, Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke), whose lives are upended when their teenage brother becomes an overnight sensation. Over three seasons, the two reckon with fame, love, and what it means to be a semi-notable gay person on social media. In one episode, Cary is too vain to see lovers (Tuc Watkins and Noah Galvin) posing as a father and son for what they are. In another, Brooke tries desperately to attend the exclusive unveiling of “a new Hadid sister.” Its humor is whip-smart, its emotional beats are brutally cutting, and Molly Shannon’s Pat Dubek is a revelation. If you haven’t fallen under its spell yet, now is certainly the time.
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