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 they killed off Poussey, a beloved black queer character as a teaching 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 estimating that one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident in the last 12 months, 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 firsts loves, and explorations of the cultural richness of queerness.
This list doesn't have any grim tales of conversion therapy, or a plot that ends in your favourite character dying a horrific death, but you will find a variety of films and TV shows exploring different LGBTQ stories.
So, here are the LGBTQ shows and films you should be watching on Netflix right now:
From Ryan Murphy, the mastermind behind Pose and The Politician comes the Netflix Original Hollywood. A reimagining of what the Golden Age of Hollywood would look like if some of the biggest people in the booming industry were queer or minorities. It’s totally heart-warming, uplifting and – of course – very camp.
'RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars'
Drag Race is back! But this time it’s the crème de la crème fighting it out to be in the drag hall of fame, in the fifth season of Ru Paul’s All-Stars. It’s like America’s Next Top Model but with Drag Queens from previous seasons and a large helping of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent thrown in.
‘Tales Of The City’
Based on the novel 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 Noughties makeover show. Most recently, the "Fab Five" travelled to Japan meeting new people in a new country improve some aspects of themselves. You will laugh and you will most definitely cry with joy on multiple occasions. Season Five 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.
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’
This is probably one of the most influential reality shows spotlighting the LGBTQ community in recent years. Simply put, it’s like America’s Next Top Model but with Drag Queens and a large helping of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent thrown in. And don't forget about the UK version on the Beeb.
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.
'My Days Of Mercy'
A truly strange setting to a romance, My Days Of Mercy follows Lucy, the daughter of a man on death row played by Ellen Page, who ends up falling for an advocate of the death penalty (played by Kate Mara). The two couldn't live more opposing lives, but soon their differences bring them together.
'AJ And The Queen'
If you're dying for a bit more RuPaul content, then look no further. AJ And The Queen sees the superstar drag queen in a campy new 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.
Rejoice! Pose is finally up on Netflix. Follow ballroom mother Blanca and her chosen families in 1980s New York. If you’re screaming “YAS” and don’t know why, Pose is about to school you on black and latinx LGBT culture and ballroom scene. This show manages to be laugh-gut-loud hilarious, beautiful, and gut wrenchingly honest all at the same time. Sadly only season one is available, but here's hoping that changes very soon.
Duck Butter basically tells the story of a wild romantic experiment (although not as wild as the new Netflix dating show 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?
This article was originally published on