Queering Your Watchlist: 9 Great LGBTQ+ Shows to Stream Now!

It’s no secret that cisgender and heterosexual characters have dominated the screens for most of our lives – from Hollywood to Korean dramas and of course, (cough) Mediacorp. In a climate of LGBTQIA activism and raising awareness of the institutional discrimination these communities face, it is time we start making space for queer narratives. If you’re unsure of where to start, fret not, we’ve compiled a list of wholesome, creative, and unique TV series that centre around a spectrum of queer characters. 

Oh, and don’t worry, there aren’t spoilers!

  1. 1. Pose (Netflix)

    This series is all the hype among our friends in Kaleidoscope, and it does not disappoint. Pose is fabulous in every sense of the word, and the stellar cast is just one reason for that. The series explores what it means to be African-American and Latino members of the LGBTQ+ community told through the gender-nonconforming New York drag ball culture of the ‘80s. 

    “I said mother, that was no strange woman sneaking through your halls. That was me. I am not gay and I’m certainly not sinful. What I am is a woman, mother. Not your son, but your daughter.” (Season 1)

    Not only does the series feature astoundingly intricate costumes and electrifying performances, at the heart of it, it is also a family drama. The characters of Pose often deal with universal issues such as the search for acceptance, love and meaning, making them relatable to the contemporary audience -- regardless of sexuality. 

    Fun fact: Ryan Murphy, the creator of the series (and creator of critically acclaimed series, Glee), made it a point to cast actual transgender women such as MJ Rodriguez, and Dominique Jackson in the lead roles.

  2. 2. Euphoria (HBO GO)

    People know Euphoria as the series behind the trend of dramatic rhinestoned makeup looks and well – Zendaya. But there is a lot more depth to this beautifully crafted “loud” aesthetic. The series navigates the lives of Rue (Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman) who is a recovering drug addict and vulnerable to relapsing at any moment and Jules (Hunter Schafer), a transgender girl afflicted by an attraction to terrible masochistic, closeted men. It is also accompanied by various other gripping and relatable subplots -- but I shan’t get into them here. 

    "She hated her life. Not because it was bad but because when you hate your brain and your body, it's hard to enjoy the rest." (Season 1)

    Euphoria is essentially a coming-of-age series. I don’t mean it in the indie-quirky Saorise Ronan in Ladybird sense, but more towards the anxieties and absolute horror of navigating one’s identity as a teenager entering adulthood. It touches on a range of salient issues from body dysmorphia to toxic masculinity. However, Euphoria also carries glimmers of hope and love – you just have to watch it to find out!

    Fun fact: Euphoria is Hunter Schafer’s first lead role in a series!

  3. 3. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix)

    If the name sounds familiar, well, it’s because this series is a reboot of the original 1985 filmation, She-Ra: Princess of Power. The series stands out with its divergence from the oft-masculine tropes of sci-fi or fantasy animations set in war-torn contexts. Set in  Etheria, a matrilineal society under attack by the evil Hordak army, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power features powerful queer warrior princess in all shapes and colours. The story follows the rivalry between Adora (Aimee Carrero) – and her alter ego, She-Ra – and Catra (AJ Michalka), best-friends-turned-enemies.

    "I’ve always loved the nemesis relationship .... These people who mean the world to each other and hate each other but love each other, and it’s all wrapped up together. It’s a really confusing bundle, and I love it." (Noelle Stevenson, creator of She-Ra)

    As you can probably already tell, this series is filled with flawed and complex characters. They may be half-cat, half-lobster, celestial beings or whatnot, but they are bonded by similar struggles and desires for love, as well as belonging and solidarity. It is also worth noting that the love lines here are anything but conventional. I don’t know about you, but I sure wish cartoons like this existed while I was growing up.

    Fun fact: Stevenson (the series creator) sought to actively diversify and fill the new version with strong female characters.

  4. 4. Killing Eve (Hulu)

    This dark comedy follows detective Eve Polastri’s (Sandra Oh) obsessive hunt for an elusive charming assassin – a woman known as Villanelle (Jodie Comer), notorious for the theatrical style of her murders. Killing Eve subverts the male-dominated espionage genre like never before. Notably, it is driven by a queer female assassin and an American-Asian female detective who is confused about her sexuality. Talk about representation!

    “The fluidity, even in the questioning that I know Eve really really carries, is what I think people can truly relate to. We are not saying one thing or another because people are not one thing or another.” (Sandra Oh in an interview with Gay Times)

    While some have criticised Killing Eve as queer-baiting, these claims seem unfounded in a series that devotes itself tirelessly to delivering characters who are constantly challenging the heteronormative world they’re thrust into. Furthermore, it displays queer relationships that aren’t exactly ideal or utopian. 

    Fun fact: The show is based on a series of novellas by Luke Jennings titled Codename Villanelle.

  5. 5. Together With Me (Netflix)

    Forget about girl meets boy, this boy meets boy rom-com is a popular example of the Thai Boy Love (BL) genre. The series follows Korn (Max Nattapol Diloknawarit) and Knock (Tul Pakorn Thanasrivanitchai) in their sexual awakening as best friends who may have unresolved feelings for each other. 

    Together With Me is one of those fluffy romantic dramas that teases its audience with the “will they, won’t they?” atmosphere. The series starts off with a hot and passionate sex scene as well – you know they’re not playing! Although it is problematic that its gay characters are so romanticised (with their chiselled abs and all that) the story shouldn’t be disqualified for that alone. Together With Me also follows characters who are constantly navigating the stigmas associated with homosexuality in their society as they deal with their internal confusions. 

    I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see a fun queer rom-com that leaves you all giggly and swooning!

    Fun fact: Together With Me is actually a prequel to a series called Bad Romance where Korn and Knock are already a couple. 

  6. 6. Sense 8 (Netflix)

    Sense 8 revolves around the lives of eight strangers who suddenly find themselves connected by some otherworldly force. A Chicago police officer is transported to the same room as an Icelandic DJ. A Mexican movie star finds himself looking through the eyes of a Korean businesswoman. A transgender IT hacker enters the bus of a Nairobian bus driver… you get it. The plot thickens when they realise that a sinister organisation is tracking down “clusters'' like them, forcing them to band together in order to escape its clutches. 

    “The real violence, the violence I realised was unforgivable, is the violence that we do to ourselves when we’re too afraid to be who we really are.” (Season 1)

    This series is intricate and complex as well as transcendental and beautiful in its portrayal of queerness. The story redefines what it means to connect with ourselves and each other, and most definitely pushes the boundaries of gender.

    Fun fact: Not only are the Wachowskis (two series creators) queer siblings, but they also wrote and directed The Matrix trilogy.

  7. 7. Work in Progress (Amazon Prime, Showtime)

    Work in Progress is a self-effacing comedy piece with a whole lot of queer realness. This series follows Abby (Abby McEnany), a plus-sized insecure queer dyke who works through her suicidal ideations. Given a packet of almonds by her colleague as a passive-aggressive comment on her weight, Abby counts down the days to find a reason to live. Work in Progress follows her fresh new romance with a trans man who’s half her age, charming, and gets her humour. Everything seems all too ideal for Abby but hey, she’s got 170 or so almonds to last, so, why not? 

    “I think the intersection is that this show is [...] queer and trans as fuck. I think all the trans people that come up to me and say, ‘Oh my God, The Matrix! It unlocked so many things for me. Thank you so much.’ [...] They’re going to watch the show and they’re going to really like it. Because it’s sweet and it shows trans people and queer people in a very normalizing and loving way.” (Lily Wachowski, writer and co-creator)

    It is Abby’s ability to laugh at her sadness that makes the series so endearing – not to mention, wickedly funny. The theme of identity is only one part of this storyline -- Work in Progress is more about finding meaning in the shitstorm of life. 

    Fun fact: This series is inspired by the real-life events of its lead, Abby McEnany.

  8. 8. We Are Gamily (Web series - GagaOOLala)

    Adding some new series formats in the mix, this web series is one of the many queer Asian narratives available online.  This is a satirical drama that centres around a lesbian and a gay couple in Chengdu, China. The protagonists, Yang Duo and Wu Gang (each in their own relationship) decide to sign up for a heterosexual “Marriage of Convenience” in order to cover up their homosexual romance. But things get complicated when the marriage starts causing inconveniences in their actual relationships. 

    “When will you commit yourself to me? Is there any meaning left in this relationship?” (Season 1)

    Although the reality of their lives is bleak at times, the series balances it out with great comedy and satire. Most importantly, it does not shy away from portraying the intimacies of its queer characters.

  9. 9. People Like Us (Web series)

    This list wouldn’t be complete without Singapore’s very first web series that highlights queer characters and stories. Directed by Leon Cheo for the platform gayhealth.sg, (all episodes are available on the site), People Like Us has received numerous accolades after its release in 2016. The series follows the lives of four gay men where they navigate love, lust, and life in a city with an archaic law that criminalises gay sex. 

    With a cast this diverse (in terms of sexuality, race, and age), and the nuanced delivery of its characters lived experiences, this series is a notable departure from heteronormative Singaporean narratives. One such example is the scene where a character swipes through Grindr, looking for company, and ends up on a disappointing date (relatable much?). The webisodes are short but they’re real and honest. People Like Us is definitely worth the watch!

Gone are the days where queer characters exist only as subplots or caricatures. You know the ones — from the gay best friend to the angry lesbian, the flirty bisexual and the closeted jock. We are in the midst of a new age of diverse, queer representation onscreen – and we are living for it. If you haven’t caught these series yet, what are you waiting for?