Seven LGBTQIA+ Characters I Love - and You Will, Too

For those in the LGBTQ community, representation is really important. (Well, representation is important in general, it just happens to be a fairly vocal issue in LGBTQ spaces.) While there definitely could and should be more LGBTQ characters in media, here are seven to start out with, (and where they come from) so you can get to know them even better.

 

1. Kurt Hummel, Glee

While Glee started out as a show about a singing group, it soon became a much bigger story of identity and acceptance. From the pilot, Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) was a character trying to come to terms with being gay and to find friends, hence finding himself in the Glee Club. Over six seasons, Kurt becomes confident and strong in the face of adversity and even finds love in classmate Blaine (Darren Criss.) Glee is a great place to start when it comes to exploring stories and characters of all different backgrounds, and Kurt will soon become a beloved character.

 

2. Charlie Bradbury, Supernatural

Charlie Bradbury, played by Felicia Day, was a fan favorite from the minute she hit the screen. Supernatural is a show centered around four straight, white men with very little representation outside of that, so to have a nerdy/fangirl character who was also gay was a big deal to viewers. Charlie is funny, quirky and smart. She is quick on her feet and lovable to everyone she comes across, and her relationships with the main trio, Sam, Dean and Cas, are unique and treasured. With thirteen seasons Supernatural is a big project to watch, but many of Charlie’s episodes are standalone-episodes that need minimal background and are an excellent mix of comedy and monster-thriller.

 

3. Eric “Bitty” Bittles, Check, Please!

For those who may not want to commit to a whole television show, look no further than the web comic, Check, Please! The comic tells the story of Eric “Bitty” Bittles attending the fictional New England college, Samwell University, and playing on the Samwell Men’s Hockey team, all the while being gay and figuring out that being out is okay. Luckily, Bitty is surrounded by many supportive team members, including one who may have some reciprocal feelings (SPOILERS!) The entire comic only takes a few hours to read and with beautiful artwork and storytelling by artist Ngozi Ukazu, Check, Please! is a lighthearted story with well-developed characters that will keep you coming back for every update.

 

4. Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black

If you are looking for a show with Boss Ass Bitches and the greatest actress who ever lived, you have come to the right place. Orphan Black is a BBC series about clones and science. Actress Tatiana Maslany plays every clone - eleven in total, and sometimes plays four clones in one scene. One of these clones is Cosima Niehaus, a Ph.D. student from UC Berkeley. She is the brains of “Clone Club” and studies the science behind the clone experiments. Early on in the series she meets Delphine and they quickly develop a romance. But as Cosima points out above - who she dates is the least of her personality. Cosima, and Orphan Black itself, is about strength, intelligence and sisterhood. This show a perfect mix of science fiction and romance with a kick-ass gay lead and it is sure to be your new favorite.

 

5. Lola, Kinky Boots

If theater is more your thing, the musical Kinky Boots is probably the most LGBTQ-positive show currently on Broadway. Based on a movie (that was not a musical,) Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price, a young British man who inherits a failing shoe company. After meeting a drag queen named Lola, he realizes he can turn the company around by manufacturing and selling stiletto boots for drag queens because regular boots cannot support a man. Lola, played originally by Billy Porter, is completely unique to herself and confident in her identity, and she radiates this to every other character and every audience member. Additionally, its finale, and most signature song, "Raise you up/Just Be," features the lyrics:

Just be.

Who you wanna be.

Never let ‘em tell you who you ought to be

Just be. With dignity.

Celebrate yourself triumphantly.

The story, characters, cast and crew celebrate LGTBQ identities, and the music and themes of the show are uplifting and everyone is welcome in the doors. Even if Broadway is unattainable, simply listening to the soundtrack can be enough to fill you with confidence to get you through the day.

 

6. Buck, The OA

The OA is a Netflix original series that somewhat flew under the radar. Co-created by and starring Brit Marling, the show tells the story of Prairie, or OA, a girl who experienced a near-death experience and was captured by an obsessed scientist trying to understand what happens after death. After seven years, Prairie returns home and tells her story to five people from her hometown - four students and a teacher at the local high school. One of these students is Buck (Ian Alexander,) who is trans. In the first season, which only consists of eight episodes, not much is disclosed about Buck and his life outside of the meetings with the OA. He sings in choir and has friends at school, but other than that it is pretty unclear. Hopefully, since The OA, was picked up for a second season, viewers will learn more about Buck and all of the other group-members in future episodes.

 

7. Clarke Griffin, The 100

 

Clarke Griffin, played by Eliza Taylor, is perhaps one of the most complex characters ever written. She was one of a hundred adolescents sent from “The Ark,” a space station in orbit, down to Earth to see if it was habitable after a nuclear apocalypse and quickly emerged as a leader of the group. However, as leader, she has to make decisions for the group that sometimes mean killing hundreds of people, so while she may be the protagonist, she is anything but a hero, and her internal conflict continues to be interesting episode after episode. After several failed romances she falls in love with Lexa, the commander of the people who survived on Earth. Together they work to bring peace, and a little love, to planet Earth. Clarke is a leader, a friend, a lover and a fighter all in one and sometimes all at the same time, and she brings an element of interest and surprise to The 100 that always keeps you guessing.

 

This is just a small sampling of everything out there. Whether you like science fiction, high school drama, comics or theater, there are always great LGBTQ characters and shows to explore if you look hard enough.