The queer community has been working towards representation when it comes to both movies and television shows. Within the last two decades shows such as “The L Word” and Queer Eye”, both the reprisal and original, have helped pioneer representation on the small screen. Recently more and more shows with accurate, diverse and respectful shows have been popping up.
Here is a list of recent shows that are further pushing for queer representation.
1. The Bold Type
There is a lack of queer women of color in media and “The Bold Type” is trying to change that. One of the main characters Kat (Aisha Dee) is a Social Media Director and a young woman who began questioning her sexuality after working with queer photographer Adena El-Amin. As the story goes on Kat begins to identify as queer. The show was praised for its accurate portrayal of a queer sex scene. Helping to work against the fetishization of queer women, especially queer women of color.
Another show breaking down barriers is “Vida”. This GLAAD award winning show follows two Mexican-American women who come back home after the death of their mother. Once there they discover that not only her bar is flailing she was also married to a woman. This show deals with both acceptance and the all too real rejection of the LGBTQ+ community. “Vida” explores how hard it is to be a queer woman in the Latinx community, specifically Mexican-American.
3. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is unlike any other show. Creator and star Rachel Bloom has made sure the cast is diverse and inclusive. There are various LGBTQ+ characters on the show, one being Darryl Whitefeather (Pete Gardner). After a divorce with his wife Darryl becomes aware and open to his bisexuality. Typically bisexuality is portrayed through young women who are depicted as promiscuous, Darryl smashes that stereotype. The bisexual community knows all too well how it is often erased or ignored and Darryl singing about his sexuality helps reassure viewers they’re valid and seen.
4. One Day at a Time
A reboot from an equally ground-breaking late 1970s show has become a Netflix favorite for its queer representation. The modern day show is about the Alvarezes, a Cuban-American family. The oldest child Elena (Isabella Gomez) comes out as a lesbian and deals with the challenge of being open in a predominantly Catholic community. By the second season the show introduces a love interest for Elena with the non-binary character Syd (Sheridan Pierce).
Technically you can’t watch this show quite yet, it comes out on Netflix April 12. Based off of Ryan O’Connell’s book “I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves” this series depicts the life of a young gay man dealing with mild cerebral palsy. Rarely if ever are disabled people shown as television as anything other than a plot device. “Special” will hopefully challenge that trope by instead depicting disabled individuals respectful. Fingers crossed this show is good!
6. Dear White People
Another Netflix original “Dear White People” is based off of the indie movie of the same name. Of the various main cast Lionel Higgins (DeRon Horton) is a young, gay black man working through life at an Ivy League college. His sexuality isn’t his only defining trait but he definitely shows the struggles a queer man of color faces.
7. South of Nowhere
Only lasting three seasons “South of Nowhere” follows Spencer (Gabrielle Christian) a high-school student who recently moved from a small town to Los Angeles. There she meets and begins dating fellow student Ashley (Mandy Musgrave) who is bisexual. In 2019 this plot may sound tame but in 2005 “South Of Nowhere” was really one of the only shows depicting young queer women in a way that felt honest. It’s a great show because it’s just like any other teen drama, it just happens to be centered around a lesbian sixteen-year-old.
8. Steven Universe
There’s a lot to unpack with this gem of a show. “Steven Universe” may be a show aimed towards children but if anything that fact makes it even more important. Creator Rebecca Sugar created a world where the gender-fluid Crystal Gems protect the earth with young half-human/half-gem Steven. It’s a show that explores gender fluidity and sexuality, the Gems pronouns are they/them and she/her. One character is the literal embodiment of a queer relationship.
9. Killing Eve
The award-winning “Killing Eve” is unique for many reasons. One being the sexual fluidity of the antagonist Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Similar to the show “Hannibal” this show depicts an interesting cat and mouse game between Villanelle and Eve (Sandra Oh). Unlike other thrillers that have queer characters, the queerness of Villanelle is never her motivation in her brutal assassinations. “Killing Eve” manages to play Villanelle as a well thought out character that just happens to be queer.
Last but certainly not least is Ryan Murphy’s “Pose”. The impressively diverse cast includes trans-women of color both acting and writing. This show takes place in the 1980s queer dance scene and explores the people who inhabit that space. What is significant about this show is that it not only includes queer people of color it also is written by queer people of color. Far too often shows are written by people who have no clear picture of the characters they are writing. “Pose” helps right those wrongs.