If you were born before 2000 this you most definitely remember the sad reality of the days when LGBTQ+ characters were comedic, b-roles in many movies and tv-series. Even though most of these characters played a huge part in the positive representation we see nowadays, there was a time when the slightest sign of same-sex intimacy was enough to enrage the majority of the viewers. For decades queer, gay and transgender people hardly ever saw any displays of love on mainstream media, leaving a big portion of the population eager to see something they could relate to. 

The first positive representation of homosexuals on mainstream TV

Will and Grace aired in 1998 were the first-ever tv-series that painted the LGBTQ+ community in a positive light. As you can imagine the stereotypical portrayal of the two gay characters received quite enough hate and criticism but quickly became one of the most successful NBC series from 1998 until 2006. Even though the first steps towards equal representation of all genders and sexualities began years ago, the journey surely had many ups and downs. 

Some of the worst portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters in movies

We often saw gay people portrayed as evil and perverse. Who can forget Catherine Trammel (Sharon Stone), the lead character on The Basic Instinct who was presented as a sex-crazed murderer. Another offensive example came straight from Fame and Gain in which they introduced an old, pervert, homosexual priest for the sole purpose of him getting a beat up by Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) in a "funny" attempt to portray gay people as depraved individuals once again. So where are we standing in 2020? A recent study from GLAAD "Where we are on TV" verifies that the number of LGBTQ+ characters on primetime cable increased to 251. 

Of the 879 regular characters expected to appear on broadcast scripted primetime programming this season, 90 (10.2%) were identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer. This is the highest percentage GLAAD has found in the fifteen years this report has counted all broadcast series regulars. There were an additional 30 recurring LGBTQ characters.


We cannot look past Netflix's positive impact on these numbers. Probably one of the most diverse and inclusive streaming service to this day, Netflix originals like the extremely popular show Orange Is The New Black or one of the best-rated series of all times, American Horror Story certainly leads the way for other mainstream media.

I am not simply obsessed with watching tv-series, many will say that I am actually invested in them. I have proudly watched more than 200 series so far (yes, you read that correctly). Some of those I sat down and rewatched and others left me wishing I could get the hours I've lost back. From the most popular shows ( La Casa De Papel, Blindspot, Lost) to lesser-known gems ( Osmosis, Chambers ) and worst ones of all times, for me ( Trinkets, Top of the lake), I have seen them all. As you can imagine, I couldn't miss the chance to deep dive into the best LGBTQ+ Tv shoes and properly list all my thoughts bellow.

1. ELITE


Similar to shows like Riverdale and Pretty Little liars, Elite surely follows the same teenage romance drama with the right amount of murder mystery and nudity playbook but also differs in many fantastic ways. It portraits the carrying and extremely complicated relationship between Omar and Ander, two gay students from completely different social, religious, and economical backgrounds. Elite quickly introduces us to the pansexual teenagers of Las Encinas and their unexplored sexual desires. The iconic three-way relationship between Polo, Carla, and Christian, followed by an even more unexpected affair between Valerio, Cayetana, and Polo, the show continuous to challenge the sexual spectrum we are used to seeing on mainstream tv.

2. EUPHORIA


Euphoria perfectly portraits what it really means to be a teenager in 2020 by showing the constant stimulations and hard decisions a young teen faces daily. The story follows Rue, a recovering drug addict who just got out of rehab after her overdose. Rue fights her ongoing battle with depression, anxiety, addiction, and her overwhelming disappointment for not being able to fit in. Jules, a trans woman who finds comfort in spending her evenings browsing on dating apps for older men with fetishes, is introduced early on. This show may not leave you feeling joyful but it will definitely make you familiar with the raw reality the young generation has to face in order to learn, involve, and survive.

3. ORPHAN BLACK


Since its premiere in 2013 Orphan Black has always been the best example of the right way to represent the LGBTQ+ community. Since the show is mostly based on the story of a woman and her clones, Orphan Black also asses the female representation game from the first to the very last episode. The show introduces many non-straight characters throughout the seasons. Instead of deep diving into their lives and experiences as members of the LGBTQ+ community, they are "just there" as important elements of the plot. Felix is an openly gay man who refuses to follow anyone's rules. Cosima is a bisexual who engages in a very complicated romantic relationship with Delfine, a fellow scientist. Tony, another one of the clones is trans. The common factor between all these characters is undeniably the confident and unapologetic way they face the world.

4.THE MAGICIANS


The Syfy series adapted from Lev Grossman’s book trilogy quickly became a favorite amongst the magic world enthusiasts. This show ditches the old school classic way we see schools of magic by adding present time elements to the plot, a mirror to our current society if you will. Students always try to find new ways to use their powers in order to get high and have fun while trying to fight real evil. Early on we are introduced to Eliot Waugh, a queer student who never tries to hide his ongoing lust for all kinds of sexual activities while poking fun at the straight characters of the show. Eliot quickly became one of the most beloved characters of the series and a very important member of their group. This fictional world has the right dose of magic and realism but also taches on some serious subjects like sexual assault, depression, alcoholism, and coping with death.

5. DYNASTY


The remake of the 80s soap opera aired in 2017. It follows the story of the Carrington family and the ongoing tension between the billionaire's daughter Fallon Carrighton with her father's new wife. Steve Carrington is the openly homosexual older son who quickly fells in love and marries Sam, a flamboyant gay man from Venezuela. The Carrington family, as opposed to the original show of the 80s, wholeheartedly accepts Steve and his sexuality and is never being seen as something "usual" or negative.

6. BONDING


This series is like nothing we've ever seen before. The combination of dark humor and sex-positivity quickly gained a cult following. The show follows the life of Pete and Tiff, two former high school best friends. The story begins when Pete (an openly gay man), desperate for a well-paying job accepts Tiff's offer to become her "assistant". Pete gets introduced to the secret, underground world of BDSM since episode one as his best friend turns out to be the most famous dominatrix in town.