10 Shows That Actually Have Good Representations of Queer Women

LGBTQIA+ representation in film and TV has come a long way since the restrictive Hays Code of the 1930s that wouldn’t allow queerness to be shown on screen. However, the representation of queer women in film in TV is still incredibly sparse. According to GLAAD, the year 2019 saw a 20% increase in lesbian representation, but that still isn’t enough. Many of the shows that do have queer women can often feel frivolous and over-sexualized (*cough cough* Riverdale), or worse, fall victim to the bury your gays trope, killing off the queer women on the sheries. We still have a long way to go, but here are ten shows with accurate representation of queer women that are actually good:

  1. 1. Wynonna Earp

    What makes the relationship between Waverly and Nicole on the SYFY show Wynonna Earp so special is the way that the hurdles that they face as a lesbian couple are never sensationalized. The storyline doesn't fall victim to popular stereotypes or tropes that are common with queer characters.

    The best twist of the show by far is when Nicole gets shot and it's revealed that she was wearing a bulletproof vest the whole time, completely subverting the "bury your gays" trope. Katherine Barrell, the actress who portrays Nicole on the show, has also been very outspoken about listening closely to LGBTQIA+ fans, and has also opened up about pressuring the writers not to go down the path of tragedy with Nicole. 

  2. 2. Atypical

    The extremely heartfelt friendship turned romantic relationship between Casey and Izzie on the Netflix comedy Atypical is a painfully awkward, funny and relatable slow burning romance. Everything from the hand holding scene in the car to the forehead kiss, and Casey going out of her way to drive to Izzie’s house to “drop off some clothes” after they go just a few days without speaking, is brilliant. And all of the buildup to the epic kiss scene on the school football field is so worth it. 

  3. 3. The Bold Type

    ​The Bold Type tells the story of three best friends who work at a women’s magazine as they navigate their adult lives in New York City. Adena is a Muslim, lesbian photographer who travels to New York for her gallery debut, and falls in love with Kat, the social media editor at Scarlet Magazine. Their relationship and their sexual intimacy are delved into without hesitation or exploitation, and viewers get to see them navigate the positives and negatives of every normal relationship. 

  4. 4. One Day at a Time

    ​The 2017 updated remake of the classic Cuban family sitcom One Day at a Time tackles various important issues, including feminism, immigration and combating racism and xenophobia. The show also handles LGBTQ+ issues incredibly sensitively and accurately, as can be seen in the relationship between Elena and Syd. Syd is non-binary and uses ze/zir pronouns, but isn't treated any differently based on zir identity, and seeing a character like Syd in a healthy relationship with a supportive partner like Elena is incredibly refreshing. 

  5. 5. Sense8

    One of the many highlights of Sense8, an epic sci-fi series that portrays a group of telepathic world travellers navigating the world, is the relationship between Nomi Marks and Amanita Caplan. Nomi is an openly trans woman who struggles to connect with her family and community. She finds solace in her fellow travellers' abilities to empathize with her experience, because they have the unique ability to hear her thoughts. The best part is the show does not sensationalize her struggle nor make her story into a tragedy, instead allowing the viewer to find warmth and comfort in the relationship between Nomi and Amanita. 

  6. 6. Feel Good

    Feel Good is a semi-autobiographical story of comedian and recovering addict Mae, portrayed by Mae Martin, who falls in love with a woman named George, played by Charlotte Ritchie. The show navigates the fluid nature of gender and sexuality in a very poignant way and demonstrates the importance of combating biphobia and loving across labels, and the chemistry between Martin and Ritchie is impeccable.

  7. 7. Euphoria

    Euphoria is so much more than a drug-crazed teen melodrama. Rather than following Hollywood stereotypes and clichés that equate being trans with pain and tragedy, the show allows Jules to be a fully-formed and well rounded character without being treated as "different" or "other" by her peers. The romantic relationship between Rue and Jules shows that regardless of gender or sexual identity, a healthy relationship is with somebody who you trust, and makes you feel wanted and loved. 

  8. 8. Orphan Black

    Orphan Black has many complex characters with multiple layers to them, but the actresses who portray lovers Delphine and Cosima understand the weight of responsibility that is on them to do right by the demographic they are portraying on screen. In an interview with GLAAD, Tatiana Maslany, who portrays Cosima stated, “They’re not ‘on show’, they’re not on display for the male gaze. They’re not sexualized in that way, but they are sexual with each other." The fact that the show cares about portraying lesbian relationships in an authentic light that doesn't pander to male viewers is an important step in moving the needle forward.

  9. 9. Betty

    Betty is an HBO sitcom about the world of young women in New York who skateboards, and the complications of navigating the largely cishet, male-dominated space. What makes the show so excellent is how accurately and authentically the characters embody the multi-faceted nature of young women and non-binary people in New York. I knew people exactly like these characters when I spent a majority of my college years in the city. Their queerness is a massive part of the story, but it isn't the entire focus of the show, either, which is an important balance to strike. 

  10. 10. Broad City

    Since there are very limited opportunities for queer women to see our lives reflected through humor, Broad City’s inclusion of Abbi and Ilana’s queerness at the forefront is a breath of fresh air. In Season 5, we even get to see Abbi fall in love with a doctor played by Clea DuVall. The way the show tackles the importance of not always needing to label one’s sexuality is so necessary, especially since we live in a culture that is incredibly obsessed with labels.