In recent years, LGBTQ+ film and television has come leaps and bounds. And for streaming service and production company Netflix, it feels like the norm for the majority of their originals to have an LGBTQ character. But there's always room for improvement.
Shows like Orange Is The New Black really changed LGBTQ+ representation on our screens. But sadly, a beloved fave fell into the same trope of LGBTQ+ characters dying and suffering (spoiler alert, although the series has now ended) when Poussey, a beloved Black queer character, was brutally killed as a teachable moment. And, when you think about it, all these amazing, multifaceted characters still only exist within a prison institution.
Violence against the LGBTQ+community is sadly already so prevalent, with Stonewall data showing that one in five LGBT+ people experienced a hate crime or incident in a one year period in 2017, sometimes you don’t also want to see that violence replicated on TV — living through it or in fear of it is difficult enough. Although those stories do need telling too, so do ones about lesbian superheroes, fierce friendships, gooey first loves, and explorations of the cultural richness of queerness.
So, here are the LGBTQ shows and films you should be watching on Netflix right now:
The Half Of It
‘The Half of It’ is a coming of age teen drama about a shy girl and a jock who unknowingly fall in love with the same girl at school, and soon stir up an unlikely friendship. It has all the good components of any teen drama (including the very important water scene) but told through the eyes of a girl coming into her seuxlity.
Tales Of The City
Based on the novels by Armistead Maupin, the fourth instalment of Tales Of The City, which originally started in 1993, follows a complex chosen family living in San Francisco. This reprise of the mini-series features Hollywood royalty Ellen Page and RuPaul's Drag Race winner Bob The Drag Queen.
Queer Eye: We're In Japan
This is a remake of the classic ‘00s makeover show. Most recently, the "Fab Five" travelled to Japan meeting new people in a new country to improve some aspects of themselves. You will laugh and you will most definitely cry with joy on multiple occasions. Season 5 is out now, too.
New kid Ned attends a rugby-obsessed boarding school in Ireland and becomes an outcast almost immediately. His nonchalance towards rugby doesn’t do him any favours with the school bullies, until he sparks up an unusual friendship with one of the ruby boys, Connor.
Strike A Pose
Many people's first introduction to voguing was through singer Madonna who took it from the queer Black and brown ball scene. This documentary follows Madonna’s dancers during one of her most controversial tours. Strike A Pose explores the cultural capital and mainstreaming of queer culture, and what happened to those dancers decades later.
Written and starring Canadian comedian Mae Martin, Feel Good is a semi-autobiographical look into parts of their life — exploring gender and sexuality. Mae, also a comedian, is after recovering from substance use and falls headfirst into an intense relationship.
Sex Education is back for another season. Following awkward teen Otis who is the reluctant resident sex therapist and his best friend Eric navigating school, relationships and sex. Season 2 in particular includes important storylines about asexuality, pansexuality, isolation and assault.
Set in Chicago, Easy follows a number of complex relationships. Each episode works as a standalone, but there are overarching storylines throughout the three seasons, with characters from different episodes interlinking. Expect awkwardness, messy relationships, and humour, but the journey of Jo and Chase's relationship is by far the most captivating.
AJ And The Queen
AJ And The Queen sees superstar drag queen RuPaul in a campy TV show as a performer travelling cross country with a young stowaway in tow. There's lots of familiar faces along the way including drag queens Monique Hart and Kennedy Davenport.
It’s probably one of the best high school comedies in recent years, Booksmart follows two goody-two-shoes best friends before the head of to university. They soon realise they didn’t have fun or break any rules like their peers, so to make up for lost time they decide they have to go to a big party. While this film is more about friendship, one of the leads Amy is gay, happy, and loving life. Her high school crush storyline is treated with the exact same care and importance as her best friend’s.
Follow ballroom mother Blanca and her chosen families in 1980s New York. Pose is about to school you on Black and Latinx LGBT+ culture and ballroom scene. This show manages to be laugh-out-loud hilarious, beautiful, and gut-wrenchingly honest all at the same time. Both seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream in the UK.
Duck Butter basically tells the story of a wild romantic experiment (although not as wild as the Love Is Blind). In it, two women (played by Alia Shawkat and Laila Costa) who are dissatisfied with their dating lives make a pact to spend 24 solid hours together, no strings attached. But will the day of experimental intimacy actually go to plan?
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