Remember when LGBTQ+ characters were the sidekick? The stereotypical white cis gay who popped up in a recurring capacity for comedic effect? Or if they were the central character, their sexuality would be downplayed and scenes of intimacy would be non-existent? Yeah, we’ll admit: we don’t really miss those days. No shade to some of these characters of course, because a lot of them paved the way for the positive queer representation we see today. As of 2023, however, representation for the LGBTQ+ community on television has never been better. In fact, a recent report from GLAAD discovered that the amount of queer characters on our screens has increased by over 100 to a new record. It’s impossible to deny Netflix’s role in this. Over the past few years, the streamer has built a reputation as one of the most inclusive sources for content, whether it’s originals such as Heartstopper, Young Royale and Glamorous, to network classics like American Horror Story, Pose or RuPaul’s Drag Race. Netflix boasts a plethora of incredible LGBTQ+ comedies, dramas and thrillers, so we’ve rounded up some of the best that you can stream right now.
Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Keir Gilchrist, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Amy Okunda, Michael Rapaport
Atypical was met with rave reviews for Keir Gilchrist’s leading performance as Sam Gardner, an Antarctica and penguin-obsessed teenager with autism spectrum disorder, as well as the romance between his sister Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and her classmate Izzie (Fivel Stewart). Although the series was initially criticised for its lack of autistic talent – in front and behind the camera – autistic writers and actors were hired from the second season until its season four conclusion to better reflect the experiences of the community.
AJ and the Queen (2020)
Cast: RuPaul, Izzy G., Michael-Leon Wooley, Josh Segarra, Katerina Tannenbaum, Tia Carrere, Matthew Wilkas
Blame It On The Edit singer RuPaul made her Netflix series debut on AJ and the Queen as Ruby Red, a “bigger-than-life but down-on-her-luck drag queen” who travels across America in a rundown RV accompanied by a wise-cracking 10-year-old orphan called AJ. Each episode sees Ruby visit a drag club and perform a killer musical number, where she is joined by some of the most legendary contestants from Drag Race’s herstory such as Bianca Del Rio, Latrice Royale, Katya, Jinkx Monsoon and Mo Heart. The Emmy-winner wrote and executive produced the show alongside Michael Patrick King, who is best known for directing, writing and producing Sex and the City, as well as Lisa Kudrow’s satirical comedy/drama, The Comeback. Sadly, the show was – and you’ll hear this quite a lot in this article – cancelled after just one season.
American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (2018)
Cast: Darren Criss, Penelope Cruz, Édgar Ramirez, Ricky Martin, Joanna P. Adler, Joe Adler, Annaleigh Ashford
The second season of Ryan Murphy’s anthology drama American Crime Story dramatises the death of gay fashion designer Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramirez), who was memorably murdered by serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion in 1997. Based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History, the series also stars Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace, Ricky Martin as Gianni’s lover Antonio D’Amico and Judith Light as Marilyn Miglin.
American Horror Story (2011 – present)
Cast: Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, Lady Gaga, Billy Eichner, Lily Rabe, Taissa Farmiga, Denis O’Hare, Frances Conroy, Kathy Bates, Cheyenne Jackson, Billie Lourd, Adina Porter, Leslie Grossman
One of the most popular horror dramas since its premiere 12 years ago, American Horror Story has received consistent praise for the performances of the cast, particularly Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Frances Conroy, Leslie Grossman and Angela Bassett. Each season explores a different sub-section of horror, such as an asylum, a haunted house, a coven of witches, a cult and an apocalypse. There are no shortage of LGBTQ+ characters in the series, from Paulson’s beloved portrayal of Lana Winters to Denis O’Hare’s transgender bartender Liz Taylor. The horror anthology series will air its 12th season later this year.
The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself (2022)
Cast: Jay Lycurgo, Nadia Parkes, Emilien Vekemans, Isobel Jesper Jones, Karen Connell, Paul Ready, David Gyasi, Kerry Kox, Fehinti Balogun, Misia Butler, Liz White, Róisín Murphy, Tim Plester
Based on Sally Green’s young adult novel Half Bad, The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself follows the titular 16-year-old bastard Nathan Byrn (Lycurgo), the illegitimate son of the world’s most dangerous and feared witch whose rather unfortunate birthright lands him smack dab in the middle of an ancient war within the witch community. With the help of the rebellious Annalise (Nadia Parkes) and charismatic ‘bad boy’ Gabriel (Emilien Vekemans), Nathan embarks on a perilous journey to end the war and discover who he really is. The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself is your average British coming-of-age, witch-centric story with queer, three-dimensional leading characters and an abundance of guts, gore and utter carnage. They don’t make anything original these days, huh?
Big Mouth (2017 – present)
Cast: Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Jenny Slate, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Jordan Peele, Ayo Edebiri
Based on Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg’s upbringing in the Westchester County suburbs of New York, Big Mouth centres on a group of seventh graders as they confront the awkwardness of adolescence and puberty. Featuring various magical beings that guide the children through different stages of life, such as the rambunctious “hormone monsters”, Big Mouth has aired five seasons to praise for its depiction of sex and the human body, as well as for representing various LGBTQ+ issues such as coming out, biphobia and the trans experience.
Black Lightning (2018 – 2021)
Cast: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III, Damon Gupton, James Remar, Jordan Colloway
Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is a school headmaster and retired superhero with the ability to harness electricity who returns to fight crime when a local gang, ominously called The One Hundred, threatens the lives of civilians in the community. Nafessa Williams plays Pierce’s daughter Anissa, a lesbian medical student and part-time teacher who is able to manipulate her body’s density at will. Fun fact: Anissa made history as the first queer superhero of colour on television.
Bonding (2019 – 2021)
Cast: Zoe Levin, Brendan Scannell, Micah Stock, Matthew Wilkas
Loosely based on the experiences of creator Rightor Doyle, Bonding follows the adventures of Tiff (Zoe Levin), a psychiatry student slash dominatrix who enlists her gay best friend from high school, Peter (Brendan Scannell), to be her assistant. The series sees Peter come to terms with his venture into sadomasochism and newfound liberation while Tiff attempts to balance her career with her clients. Although Bonding returned to even more acclaim with its sophomore season, Netflix controversially axed the series in 2021.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013 – 2021)
Cast: Andy Samberg, Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, Chelsea Peretti, Andre Braugher, Dirk Blocker, Joel McKinnon Miller
The 2018 recipient of the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, procedural comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows a team of detectives in the fictional 99th Precinct of the New York City Police Department in Brooklyn. Its eight-season run was applauded for its portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters, especially Andre Braugher’s portrayal of Captain Raymond Hold, an openly gay Black man in a same-sex interracial marriage, and Stephanie Beatriz’s hard-as-nails detective Rosa Diaz, whose coming out episode was hailed as one of the decade’s most important representations of sexual orientation.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018 – 2021)
Cast: Kiernan Shipka, Ross Lynch, Lucy Davis, Miranda Otto, Jaz Sinclair, Tati Gabrielle, Adeline Rudolph, Richard Coyle, Chance Perdomo, Darren Mann
Netflix’s gritty, Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch stars Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka as the titular spellbinding character, who is forced to juggle her supernatural abilities with her mortal life. Unlike the original series, queerness is celebrated with main characters such as pansexual warlock Ambrose Spellman (Chance Perdomo) and trans man Theo Putman (Lachlan Watson). Despite its devoted fanbase, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was cancelled after just four seasons (or ‘parts’, whatever).
Cast: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jonathan Bailey, Julie Dray, Louise Ford, Damien Molony, Adrian Scarborough, Amit Shah, Lockie Chapman, Susan Wokoma, Kathy Burke
Written, created and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Killing Eve, Fleabag), this short-lived British dramedy depicts the lives of six 20-somethings living together as property guards in a disused hospital in exchange for low rent. The series boasts a wonderful same-sex (bro?)romance between Sam (Jonathan Bailey), the sex-obsessed wild card of the group, and Fred (Amit Shah), a quiet, awkward man struggling with diabetes. Representation for the latter, a South Asian queer man, was lauded by viewers and critics.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015 – 2019)
Cast: Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III, Donna Lynne Champlin, Pete Gardner, Vella Lovell, Gabrielle Luiz, David Hull, Scott Michael Foster
Rachel Bloom won a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Rebecca Bunch in The CW’s bonkers musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Running for five seasons, the series follows the real estate lawyer as she quits her prestigious New York City firm to move to West Covinia, California, to win back her ex-boyfriend Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III). Notable for its portrayal of mental health, female sexuality and parenting, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend features prominent queer narratives with Darryl (Pete Gardner) and Josh’s (David Hull) relationship and – minor spoiler alert! – breakout character Valencia (Gabrielle Luiz) coming to terms with her bisexuality.
Dancing Queen (2018)
Cast: Alyssa Edwards, Shangela, Laganja Estranja
Dancing Queen is an eight-part docuseries filmed in Mesquite, Texas, the hometown of Justin Johnson aka Alyssa Edwards, the drag superstar who memorably rose to fame on the fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and All Stars 2. Only airing for one season, the highly entertain(t)ing series follows Alyssa as she attempts to balance her fame and responsibilities as a coach at her dance studio, Beyond Belief, as well as finding the time for her friends, family and love life. The series features guest appearances from fellow Drag Race alum such as Shangela and Laganja Estranja. It’s high camp and we deserve a season two. Deserve!
Cast: Colin Ford, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Sophie Simnett, Austin Crute, Cody Kearsley, Jeanté Godlock, Gregory Kasyan, Krysta Rodriguez, Matthew Broderick
A brilliant blend of Mad Max, Zombieland and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (it even stars Matthew Broderick as a cannibalistic headteacher). Daybreak is loosely based on Brian Ralph’s championed graphic novel of the same name, with enough pop culture references to warrant several viewings. The show focuses on high schooler Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford) as he searches for his missing girlfriend in the city of Glendale, California. Austin Crute co-stars as Wesley Fists, a bad-ass, sword-wielding hero who challenges the old stereotypes that being queer means being weak or a victim. Netflix cancelled the series after one season, eliciting uproar from the show’s fandom in the process.
Dead End: Paranormal Park (2022)
Cast: Zach Barack, Kody Kavitha, Alex Brightman, Emily Osment, Clinton Leupp, Kenny Tran, Kathreen Khavari, Tucker Chandler
Based on the graphic novels DeadEndia by creator Hamish Steele and Cartoon Hangover’s Too Cool! Cartoons web short Dead End, this series focuses on a group of employees who work at a theme park slash haunted house during the summer, which also happens to be a portal to hell. Paranormal Park has made strides for queer representation in animation with the inclusion of a trans male lead character, Barney Guttman (Zach Barack), and multiple supporting characters who also identify under the LGBTQ+ umbrella including Norma Khan (Kody Kavitha), Logan “Logs” Nguyen (Kenny Tran) and Badyah “Deathslide” Hassan (Kathreen Khavari).
Eastsiders (2012 – 2019)
Cast: Van Hansis, Kit Williamson, John Halbach, Constance Wu, Matthew McKelligon, Stephen Guarino, Brianna Brown, Willam
Infidelity and substance abuse are at the core of Eastsiders, a dark comedy web series centring on the lives of on-and-off couple Thom (Van Hansis) and Cal (Kit Williamson). Also starring RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Willam as Douglas/Gomorrah Ray, a drag queen who falls in love with Stephen Guarino’s character Quincy, as well as Crazy Rich Asians actress Constance Wu co-stars as Cal’s best friend Kathy, the series garnered a devoted fanbase throughout its four-season run and numerous accolades. Willam memorably received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Digital Daytime Drama Series, making herstory in the process as the first drag entertainer to be nominated for an Emmy in an acting category.
Elité (2018 – present)
Cast: María Pedraza, Itzan Escamilla, Miguel Bernardeau, Mina El Hammani, Miguel Herrán, Jaime Lorente, Álvaro Rico, Arón Piper, Omar Ayuso
In Spanish teen drama Elité, three working class friends Samuel (Itzan Escamilla), Nadia (Mina El Hammani) and Christian (Miguel Herrán) are sent to an elite boarding school after their previous school was destroyed. The scandalous series has introduced some of television’s most beloved queer characters in Omar (Omar Ayuso) and Ander (Arón Piper), as well as Patrick (Manu Ríos), Mencia (Martina Cariddi) and Rebeka (Claudia Salas). One of Netflix’s best-performing Spanish originals, Elité has been renewed for a sixth season.
Feel Good (2020 – 2021)
Cast: Mae Martin, Charlotte Ritchie, Lisa Kudrow, Adrian Lukis, Phil Burgers, Pippa Haywood, Ophelia Lovibond
Mae Martin created, wrote and starred in Feel Good as a fictionalised version of themselves, a comedian and addict whose behaviours and intense romanticism negatively dominate their life. Co-starring Charlotte Ritchie as their partner George, as well as Lisa Kudrow and Adrian Lukis as their parents, the dark comedy chronicles Mae as they juggle relationships with their friends and family, fellow addicts and colleagues at their local stand-up comedy club. Martin received a nomination for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Female Comedy Performance (before coming out as non-binary) for their work on the series.
First Kill (2022)
Cast: Sarah Catherine Hook, Imani Lewis, Elizabeth Mitchell, Aubin Wise, Gracie Dzienny, Dominic Goodman, Phillip Mullings Jr., Jason R. Moore
Heartstopper meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Netflix’s adaptation of Victoria Schwab’s beloved short story, First Kill. Sarah Catherine Hook stars as Juliette, a teenage vampire who needs to make her first kill so she can take her place among her powerful family of “Legacy” vampires. Her initiation becomes all the more complicated, however, when she sets her sights romantically on a new girl in town called Calliope (Imani Lewis), who just so happens to be a monster hunter. Despite its mixed critical response, the supernatural romance garnered a passionate following – especially amongst queer women – and was watched globally for over 30 million hours in its first three days on Netflix. Two months after the first season premiered, however, the streamer announced that it had been axed.
Glamorous (2023 – present)
Cast: Kim Cattrall, Miss Benny, Zane Phillips, Jade Payton, Michael Hsu Rosen, Ayesha Harris, Graham Parkhurst, Damian Terriquez, Diana-Maria Riva, Kaleb Horn, Lisa Gilroy, Mark Deklin, Nicole Power, Ricardo Chavira
Created by Jordon Nardino (Desperate Housewives), Glamorous sees Kim Cattrall embrace her inner corporate diva as Madolyn Addison, a former “supermodel of the world” with a renowned cosmetics company brimming with queers who decides, on a whim, to hire Marco Mejia (Miss Benny), a 20-something gay with a face-beating fancy as her new assistant. With a soundtrack stacked with fierce pop smashers and an ensemble queer cast, as well as the aforementioned Sex and the City icon as the makeup mogul-equivalent of Wilhelmina Slater, Glamorous is the feel-good queer comedy the television landscape is in dire – dire! – need of right now.
Glee (2009 – 2015)
Cast: Lea Michele, Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Darren Criss, Harry Shum Jr, Chord Overstreet, Jacob Artist, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Heather Morris, Jenna Ushkowitz, Corey Monteith
Ryan Murphy’s musical teen drama focuses on several students in the fictitious William McKinley High School glee club as they navigate social issues issues surrounding sexuality, race, gender identity, bulimia, pregnancy and school violence. Chris Colfer and Darren Criss’ characters, Kurt and Blane, were named “one of the most beloved TV couples of the millennium” while the late Naya Rivera received praise for her portrayal of Santana, a hard-as-nails cheerleader who becomes involved with Heather Morris’ loveable character Brittany.
Grace and Frankie (2015 – 2022)
Cast: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterson, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker
Hollywood icons Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin unite in Grace and Frankie as two unlikely friends who bond after their husbands leave them… for each other. Created by Marta Kauffman (Friends) and Howard J. Morris, the comedy ran for seven seasons and 94 episodes, making it one of Netflix’s longest-running productions of all time.
Grand Army (2020)
Cast: Odessa A’zion, Odley Jean, Amir Bageria, Maliq Johnson, Amalia Yoo, Alphonso Romero Jones II, Thelonius Serrell-Freed, Anthony Ippolito, Brian Altemus
Set at Grand Army High School, a public high school in Brooklyn, New York, this teen drama – which is loosely based on Cappiello’s Slut: The Play – centres on the lives of several teenagers as they tackle racism, sexual identity, violence, bullying and rape culture. The diverse cast includes rising stars Amir Bageria as Siddhartha “Sid” Pakam, a closeted Indian-American senior, and Alphonso Romero Jones II as John Ellis, his love interest. Grand Army was – yep, you guessed it – cancelled after one season.
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rory Culkin, Rebecca Davan, Sullivan Jones, David Pittu, Krysta Rodriguez, Gianfranco Rogriguez, Bill Pullman, Kelly Bishop, Vera Farmiga, Maxim Swinton
The fourth in a string of releases from Ryan Murphy for Netflix, Halston stars Ewan McGregor as the iconic gay designer of the same name whose influence and business strategies redefined American fashion. The series chronicles Halston as he leverages his single, invented name into a worldwide fashion empire that became synonymous with luxury, sex, status and fame in 1970s and 1980s New York, before he passes away at age 57 due to AIDS-related cancer.
The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
Cast: Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, T’Nia Miller, Amelia Eve, Rahul Kohli, Tahirah Sharif, Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Henry Thomas
The follow-up to the critically-acclaimed horror series The Haunting of Hill House, Bly Manor tells the story of Dani (Victoria Pedretti), a young au-pair who is hired to look after two children in an eerie country house. Upon her arrival, she begins to see hostile apparitions that proceed to haunt the premises. Unlike its spine-chillingly scary predecessor, Bly Manor was, as its core, a love story. The relationship between Dani and Jamie (Amelia Eve) was widely celebrated by fans and critics, who applauded the show’s refreshing representation of LGBTQ+ women.
Heartbreak High (2022 – present)
Cast: Ayesha Madon, James Majoos, Chloe Hayden, Asher Yasbincek, Thomas Weatherall, Will McDonald, Joshua Heuston, Gemma Chua-Tran, Bryn Chapman-Parish, Sherry-Lee Watson, Brodie Townsend, Chika Ikogwe, Scott Major, Rachel House
Amerie (Ayesha Madon) becomes a social pariah when her fellow students discover a map that she co-created with her best friend Harper (Asher Yasbincek), who has mysteriously stopped talking to her following a music festival, that details all of the sexual exploits at Hartley High. The students are subsequently forced to attend a sexual education course called the Sexual Literacy Tutorial, where they cover topics such as substance abuse, consent and discrimination. Heartbreak High has been renewed for a second season.
Heartstopper (2022 – present)
Cast: Joe Locke, Kit Connor, William Gao, Yasmin Finney, Corinna Brown, Kizzy Edgell, Sebastian Croft, Cormac Hyde-Corrin, Rhea Norwood, Imogen Heaney, Tobie Donovan, Olivia Colman
Following the love story between the openly gay overthinker Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and buoyant rugby player Nick Nelson (Kit Connor), Heartstopper is a light and joyous watch featuring little in the way of trauma and conflict, and that’s exactly what young queer people coming to terms with their sexuality or gender identity need to see. As their friendship blossoms into romance, Charlie and Nick, as well as their circle of friends, try and navigate the “ever-relatable journey of self discovery and acceptance, supporting each other as they learn to find their most authentic selves.” Less than a month after its release, Netflix renewed Heartstopper for two more seasons.
Cast: Patti LuPone, David Corenswet, Darren Criss, Jeremy Pope, Laura Harrier, Samara Weaving, Jake Picking, Holland Taylor, Dylan McDermott, Maude Apatow
Seven-episode limited series Hollywood sees a group of young aspiring actors and filmmakers as they try to catch their big break in a post-World War II world. Each character offers their own glimpse into Hollywood’s Golden Age, while the series itself highlights the racism, sexism, homophobia and decades-old power dynamics that are still prevalent in the entertainment industry today. While the show may have garnered a mixed response from critics, it’s received plenty of praise from viewers who loved getting the chance to see a more diverse depiction of Hollywood where everyone (who deserves it) gets a happy ending.
How to Get Away with Murder (2014 – 2020)
Cast: Viola Davis, Billy Brown, Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Katie Findlay, Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry, Karla Souza, Charlie Webber, Liza Weil, Conrad Ricamora
Academy Award winner Viola Davis delivers one of her finest performances to date as Annalise Keating, a bisexual law professor who finds herself entangled in a murder plot with five of her students – one of which is gay playboy Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), who embarks on a relationship with computer programmer Oliver Hampton (Conrad Ricamora). Davis memorably made history as the first Black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
I Am Not Okay With This (2020)
Cast: Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Sofia Bryant, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Aidan Wojtak-Hissong, Richard Ellis
Consisting of seven 20-30 minute episodes, I Am Not Okay With This is based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel of the same name and is led by Sophia Lillis, who memorably rose to fame as Beverley Marsh in It and It: Chapter Two. The fantasy drama focuses on her character, Sydney, as she struggles to come to terms with her sexuality and her newfound superpowers. Although the coming-of-drama was “quietly picked up for a second season,” it was cancelled at Netflix “due to circumstances created by COVID.”
It’s a Sin (2021)
Cast: Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells, Lydia West, Nathaniel Curtis, Neil Patrick Harris, Keely Hawes, Stephen Fry
Created by Russell T Davies, It’s a Sin follows a group of friends in 1980s London who grow up in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander leads the cast as 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer, who moves from the Isle of Wight to the Big Smoke in search of fame and success. The five-part drama was praised across the board for the cast’s performances, powerful storytelling and for bringing HIV/AIDS to a mainstream audience. A few weeks after its release, All4 announced that it broke a major record as their biggest ever instant box with over seven million streams. It also proved to have a remarkable impact on viewers, with LGBTQ+ charity Terrence Higgins Trust announcing that 8,200 HIV tests were ordered in one day – smashing their previous daily record of 2,800.
Next in Fashion (2020)
Cast: Tan France, Alexa Chung
Netflix’s style series Next In Fashion sees 18 talented designers compete across 10 episodes for a huge cash prize of $250,000 and the opportunity to debut their own collection on Net-a-Porter. It’s hosted by Queer Eye’s resident style guru Tan France and British presenter, model and designer Alexa Chung, who bring plenty of fun to the high drama of the workroom. Get ready to binge your way through 10 episodes of drama and stunning runway looks. Netflix cancelled the series, although it has since been announced that the show will return for a second season with Tan and new co-host Gigi Hadid.
Orange is the New Black (2013 – 2019)
Cast: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, Samira Wiley, Danielle Brooks, Jackie Cruz, Selenis Leyva, Dascha Polanco, Nick Sandow, Yael Stone
One of Netflix’s most-streamed dramas of all time, Orange is the New Black is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, in which she detailed her confinement in a women’s prison. Lead character Piper (Taylor Schilling) and Alex’s (Laura Prepon) relationship is at the forefront of several storylines, and the show has many other supporting queer characters, most notably Samira Wiley’s Poussey Washington and Laverne Cox’s portrayal of trans inmate Sophia Bursett. The latter’s performance earned the actress an Emmy nomination, making her the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy in any acting category.
The Politician (2019 – present)
Cast: Ben Platt, Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zoey Deutch, Lucy Boynton, David Corenswet, Julia Schlaepfer, Laura Dreyfuss, Theo Germaine, Rahne Jones, Bette Midler, Judith Light
Ryan Murphy’s satirical comedy stars Ben Platt as Payton Hobart, a wealthy student from California who is determined to become the President of the United States. First, he has to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all: Saint Sebastian High School. It’s stylish, it’s camp, and it features the most iconic quote of 2019 courtesy of Jessica Lange: “I don’t understand why calling that gay man a butt-munch was such a scandal. That’s what gays do: munch butts and celebrate Halloween.” In an interview, Murphy said he would like to “do three seasons total” and have the third pick up a few years after the season two finale, to have “Ben Platt get a little bit older for his final race.”
Pose (2018 – 2021)
Cast: Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Billy Porter, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Hailee Sahar, Angel Bismark Curiel, Dyllon Burnside, Jeremy McClain and Jason A. Rodriguez
Focusing on the queer African-American and Latino communities of the ballroom scene in 1980s New York City, Pose features the largest amount of trans actors in regular roles of any scripted television series in history. The series received universal acclaim from fans and critics with Billy Porter – who plays Pray Tell, the show’s resident emcee in the Ball scene – becoming the first openly gay black actor to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Not only that, Mj Rodriguez, the star behind series lead Blanca Evangelista, became the first transgender woman to earn an Emmy nomination in a major acting category. The groundbreaking drama came to an end with its third season in 2021.
Cast: Sean Hayes, Wanda Sykes, Patti Harrison, Matt Rogers, David Harbour, Laurie Metcalf, Gary Cole, Fortune Feimster, Gabe Liedman, Alie Liebegott, Stephanie Beatriz
Will & Grace legend Sean Hayes leads Q-Force as Agent Maryweather, a gay spy who is relocated and stationed in West Hollywood after being discriminated against by his agency. There, he tries to hold his unlikely team of LGBTQ+ ass-kicking misfits together – including mechanic and driver Deb (Wanda Sykes), disguise artist Twink (Matt Rogers) and expert hacker Stat (Patti Harrison) – before embarking on explosive missions that could save the world, while proving that LGBTQ+ agents are just as effective as their heterosexual counterparts in the process. The ensemble supporting cast also includes Gary Cole, David Harbour, Laurie Metcalf and Stephanie Beatriz. Matt Rogers confirmed its cancellation on an episode of the Attitudes! Podcast.
Queer Eye (2018 – present)
Cast: Karamo Brown, Tan France, Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness
The reboot of Bravo’s iconic series, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, introduces a new Fab Five: Antoni Porowski, food and wine expert; Tan France, fashion expert; Karamo Brown, culture expert; Bobby Berk, design expert; and Jonathan Van Ness, grooming expert. Each episode follows the quintet as they travel around the United States and transform the lives of people – straight and LGBTQ+ – who are in dire need of lifestyle makeovers. There’s been six seasons so far – with a seventh on the way – and one special miniseries set in Japan.
Ratched (2020 – present)
Cast: Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis, Sharon Stone, Jon Jon Briones, Finn Wittrock, Charlie Carver, Alice Englert, Amanda Plummer, Corey Stoll, Sophie Okonedo, Vincent D’Onofrio, Harriet Sansom Harris, Brandon Flynn, Hunter Parish
A prequel to classic movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ratched stars American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson as the infamous nurse and heartless title character who uses her authority to torture her patients. Set in 1947, the thriller follows Mildred as she arrives in Northern Carolina to seek employment at a leading psychiatric hospital, where new and unsettling experiments have begun on the human mind. Mildred, a psychopath, presents herself as the perfect image of what a dedicated nurse should be. Although Ratched received polarizing reviews, it became a massive hit for Netflix, debuting in the number one spot in over 50 countries. It has received a two-season order, so expect the sophomore season to debut sometime in the next year.
RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009 – present), RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars (2012 – present), RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race (2020) and RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked (2010 – present)
Cast: RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, Merle Ginsberg, Ross Matthews, Carson Kressley
Think America’s Next Top Model, but drag, RuPaul’s Drag Race documents RuPaul’s search for America’s Next Drag Superstar. The show has spawned 14 seasons to date, as well as seven editions of All Stars (the first three seasons and the most recent are unfortunately not available on Netflix), and has launched the careers of several sickening drag performers such as Bianca Del Rio, Adore Delano, Courtney Act, Jinkx Monsoon, Bob the Drag Queen, Trixie Mattel, Katya and Shangela. Although it’s often said that “drag will never be mainstream”, the series became the first to win Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Host and Outstanding Reality Competition in the same year.
The Sandman (2022 – present)
Cast: Tom Sturridge, Boyd Holdbrook, Vivienne Acheampong, Patton Oswalt, Jenna Coleman, Joely Richardson, Nina Wadia, Souad Faress, Dinita Gohil, Asim Chaudhry, David Thewlis, Gwendoline Christie, Mason Alexander Park, Kyo Ra, Cassie Clare, John Cameron Mitchell, Stephen Fry
Tom Sturridge stars in the latest adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s works as the titular character, Dream/Morpheus, the king of dreams who is captured in an occult ritual. After being held captive for 106 years, Morpheus escapes and sets out to restore order to his realm, The Dreaming, while attempting to thwart an escaped nightmare called the Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook). Upon its premiere, viewers celebrated the amount of queerness in The Sandman, with characters such as the Corinthian, Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman), Hal Carter (John Cameron Mitchell) and Rose Walker (Kyo Ra) identifying as members of the LGBTQ+ community while Dream’s sibling, Desire (Mason Alexander Park), is gender-fluid. A second season is yet to be confirmed.
Sense8 (2015 – 2018)
Cast: Aml Ameen, Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Tuppence Middleton, Max Riemelt, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Brian J. Smith, Freema Agyeman, Terrence Mann, Anupam Kher, Naveen Andrews, Daryl Hannah, Toby Onwumere
Sense8 tells the story of eight unique individuals born on the same day who can connect with one another’s thoughts and actions, as they embark on a journey together to find out why they can do what they do. It’s mind-boggling at times, but it’s also one of the most diverse and queer-friendly TV shows ever made. The series is also known for its explicit sex scenes and no-holds-barred orgies, which regularly bring the whole cast together for some intense on-screen love-making. The series was cancelled after just two seasons, sparking uproar from fans online. The backlash led to the streaming service commissioning a two and a half hour series finale, which aired in June 2018.
Sex Education (2019 – present)
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Aimee-Lou Wood, Connor Swindells, Kedar Williams-Sterling, Tanya Reynolds, Patricia Allison
Asa Butterfield leads Sex Education as Otis Milburn, a sexually awakward teenager who lives with his sex therapist mother Jean (Gillian Anderson) while attempting to survive the perils of high school with his openly gay best friend Eric. Notable for tackling sensitive subjects related to sexual intimacy and for its authentic and diverse representation of the LGBTQ+ experience, Sex Education currently ranks as one of Netflix’s most successful shows of all time, with the first season raking in over 40 million streams within its first month of release.
Schitt’s Creek (2015 – 2020)
Cast: Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Dan Levy, Annie Murphy, Emily Hampshire, Jennifer Robertson, Chris Elliot, Tim Rozon, Sarah Levy, Dustin Milligan, Noah Reid
Schitt’s Creek made history in 2020 as Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy swept all four major categories at the Primetime Emmy Awards – the first time ever for a comedy or drama. Created by the Levy’s, the series stars the aforementioned as the Rose family: wealthy socialities who lose their fortune and have to take refuge in the motel of a town they purchased as a joke. As well as receiving praise for its humour, Schitt’s Creek became a huge hit with viewers and critics for its depiction of the LGBTQ+ community – particularly Dan Levy’s sardonic pansexual character David. Throughout the six-season series, David embarks on relationships with both men and women, and it’s never presented as an issue. It’s simply accepted by every character. We all remember the wine bottle scene, don’t we? Iconic.
Shadowhunters (2016 – 2019)
Cast: Katherine McNamara, Dominic Sherwood, Alberto Rosende, Matthew Daddario, Emeraude Toubia, Isaiah Mustafa, Harry Shum Jr., Alisha Wainwright, Alan van Sprang, Maxim Roy
The second adaptation of the beloved series of novels following the 2013 film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the series focuses on 18-year-old Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara) as she discovers that she comes from a long line of Shadowhunters – human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons. The show received mixed reviews, although the relationship between Alec (Matthew Daddario) and Magnus (Harry Shum Jr.) became one of the most championed TV relationships in recent memory. The show was cancelled in 2018, breaking the hearts of millions of fans who ‘ship’ the couple, which was described as one of the most natural and realistic LGBTQ+ romances on air.
Special (2019 – 2021)
Cast: Ryan O’Connell, Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel, Marla Mindelle, Augustus Prew, Patrick Fabian
Based on Ryan O’Connell’s part-memoir, part-manifesto I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, this Jim Parsons-produced series stars O’Connell as a gay man living with mild cerebral palsy who decided to decides to rewrite his identity as an accident victim and finally go after the life he wants. Following two well-received eight-episode seasons, Special came to an end in 2021. It received four nominations at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, one for Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series, and three for the performances of O’Connell, Jessica Hecht and Punam Patel.
Tales of the City (2019)
Cast: Laura Linney, Elliot Page, Paul Gross, Murray Bartlett, Barbara Garrick, Charlie Barnett
Netflix’s 10-episode revival of the iconic queer series depicts Mary Ann (Linney) as she returns home to San Francisco, where she’s reunited with her daughter and ex-husband Brian 20 years after leaving them for her career. Recurring cast members include Bob the Drag Queen (RuPaul’s Drag Race) as burlesque club manager Ida Best; Jen Richards (Her Story) as a young Anna Madrigal; and Daniela Vega (A Fantastic Woman) as trans woman Ysela, who plays a pivotal role in Anna’s life.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (2020)
Cast: Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin, Jeff Lowe, Bhagavan Antle, John Finlay, Rick Kirkham, John Reinke, Saft Saffery, Howard Baskin, Travis Maldonado, Dillon Passage, Tim Stark
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness chronicles the life of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, and his disturbing feuds with fellow “big cat” conservationists such as Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin. The show is… wild. There’s a murder plot, a Nxivm-esque sex cult, political campaigns, a hell of a lot of country music and an emphasis on animal rights. Exotic also leaves the fashion world shaking with his various groundbreaking ensembles. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic forcing people to quarantine inside their homes, the true crime documentary became one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed Netflix series of all time.
Tiny Pretty Things (2020)
Cast: Brennan Clost, Barton Cowperthwaite, Bayardo DeMurguia, Damon J. Gillespie, Kylie Jefferson, Casimere Jollett, Anne Maiche, Daniela Norman, Michael Hsu Rosen
Although the first season of Tiny Pretty Things received mixed reviews upon release, it attained a devoted fanbase in the community for featuring two primary gay characters. Brennan Clost leads the cast as Shane McRae, an openly gay dancer who is secretly sleeping with his roommate Oren Lennox (Barton Cowperthwaite), a fellow dancer struggling with an eating disorder. There’s been no official announcement on a second season, so it’s been rumoured that Netflix has cancelled the series. Shock!
The Ultimatum: Queer Love (2023 – present)
Cast: Xander Boger, Vanessa Papa, Lexi Goldberg, Raelyn Cheung-Sutton, Yoly Rojas, Mal Wright, Mildred Bustillo, Tiff Der, Sam Mark, Aussie Chau
Netflix queerified the second season of their dating series The Ultimatum with an all-LGBTQ+, predominantly female cast. Hosted by JoAnna Garcia Swisher, the series follows the same format as its predecessor with five couples on the verge of marriage who split up and live with new partners for three weeks. Through this “social experiment”, each individual must decide if they want to marry their original partner or their new partner. Alternatively, they can decide to leave both relationships behind.
The Umbrella Academy (2019 – present)
Cast: Elliot Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Mary J. Blige, Kate Walsh, Cameron Britton, John Magaro
An adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, which was created by My Chemical Romance star Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy follows a dysfunctional family of superpowered beings who reunite after their father’s mysterious death. Upon release, the series received praise from fans and critics for the cast’s performances and visual effects. The second season was met with further acclaim for exploring topics such as racism, sexism and homophobia, while the third was lauded for how it handles the transition of Elliot Page’s character Viktor Hargreeves.
Young Royals (2021 – present)
Cast: Edvin Ryding, Omar Rudberg, Malte Gårdinger, Frida Argento, Pernilla August
Swedish teen drama Young Royals has taken the internet and LGBTQ+ community by storm. Set in the fictional elite boarding school Hillerska, the show follows Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (Edvin Ryding) as he finally gets an opportunity to explore his true self and find out what kind of life he really wants. Wilhelm starts dreaming of a future filled with freedom and unconditional love after falling for fellow student, Simon Eriksson (Omar Rudberg), which is far away from his royal obligations. But when he unexpectedly becomes next in line for the throne, his dilemma is heightened as he has to make a choice between love and duty. Young Royals will return for a third (and final) season later this year.