Many people might argue that society has regressed fifty years ever since Donald Trump’s election in 2016. While there are many things that have been affected by the election, there are things that have actually gotten better, even if it is hard to believe.
The LGBTQ+ community has been one that has faced many challenges and discrimination for many years. There have been many marches, so they can gain the basic rights because they’ve been denied.
After many years of being swept aside and forgotten, the LGBTQ+ community has finally been getting the representation that they need and deserve. While it is still a work-in-progress, many characters that might not have existed many years ago have taken front and center in many of the most popular television shows of the decade.
Let’s take a look and celebrate the LGBTQ+ characters that we all love and have a place in representing the LGTBQ+ spectrum.
1. Magnus Bane & Alec Lightwood, Shadowhunters
These two are my favorite couple ever. I consider that they are one of the most important couples in television since other than Magnus being pansexual and Alec being gay, they are also an interracial couple. In the Shadowhunter World, Alec is a shadowhunter, and he happens to be white, Magnus is a warlock and he is Asian, having been born in Indonesia. So, they happen to represent many aspects of an interracial relationship, and they also show the process of their families accepting the relationship.
2. Bill Potts, Doctor Who
Bill Potts is the first lesbian character in this hit science fiction television show. She is a college student living a simple life when she meets The Doctor. Bill proves herself to be incredibly reliable in dangerous situations and was quick to earn The Doctor’s trust. She was a fun addition to the TARDIS and showed that Doctor Who was should have had an LGBTQ+ character as a lead a long time ago.
3. Jack Harkness, Doctor Who, and Torchwood
Jack Harkness was a character introduced in the first season of Doctor Who, but his sexuality wasn’t a main topic at the time. He is a really cool character, as he is unable to die which breaks the stigma that every LGBTQ+ character is always killed off. He is omnisexual and was actually the first Doctor Who character introduced that was not heterosexual, but he was not a lead. The show’s creator Stephen Moffat explained that he never labeled Jack because his sexuality was not supposed to be the main plot point. Jack Harkness later received his own spinoff show, Torchwood, in which he develops a relationship with Ianto Jones.
4. Clara Oswald, Doctor Who
Clara Oswald was the companion of Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor and Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor. Her bisexuality has always been a fan speculation hinted at by the show’s creator and Clara’s own behavior towards certain characters. It’s not canon, but it is something fans have pretty much accepted as true.
5. Elena Alvarez, One Day At A Time
Elena is the youngest on this list and perhaps the most relatable out of them all. She is a sixteen-year-old Cuban-American girl who had a hard time fitting into her family until she found enough courage to come out as a lesbian. She is in the word’s of her grandmother, Rita Moreno’s character Lydia, “annoying,” but she really means a “social justice warrior” and she dedicates most of her time to fight for everything she believes in.
6. Alex Danvers, Supergirl
Supergirl’s sister holds a position of great power thanks to her many degrees, including a bioengineering Ph.D., making her even more awesome than she already is. At first, she was scared that Kara wouldn’t accept her sexuality, but she was worried about nothing as Kara still loves her as she always has. She is Supergirl’s right-hand woman, helping her with everything she can that doesn’t involve superpowers. Let’s be honest, if Alex could fly she’d be next to Kara every day fighting crime with her.
7. Sophia Burset, Orange Is The New Black
Laverne Cox’s performance as the transgender inmate earned her an Emmy nomination, making her the first transgender woman to ever receive a nomination for a major award show. The show handled her storyline beautifully, dealing with all the important topics that concerned her sexuality and showed the viewer that every choice Sophia made was for her own well being and not thinking about everyone else, making her a stronger character.
8. Sara Lance, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow
Sara coming out as bisexual was the first time a lead superhero on a television show was not heterosexual. Sara’s character has been through a lot and has shown a lot of growth. She is a definite example of overcoming obstacles and has been a role model for many women. She is one of the best and most complex characters in the DC television series.
9. Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins, Grey’s Anatomy
Callie and Arizona were one of the biggest power couples in Grey’s Anatomy and one of the biggest LGBTQ+ couples in television history. They were one of the first characters to come out that had a lead role in a mainstream television show, which was a big deal. Now Callie has left the show, but Arizona still continues saving countless lives and will hopefully continue breaking the stereotypes for a long time.
10. Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson, Glee
Before Magnus and Alec came along, these two were my favorite LGBTQ+ couple. They’re still on my list, especially after being invested in their story for many years. Their relationship was the slow burn type, the would they or won’t they; it was great. It was even better when we eventually get an amazing pay off after being so invested for so long. Glee was a show that broke down many barriers, and Kurt and Blaine were just the beginning.
11. Santana Lopez and Brittany S. Pierce, Glee
Like Kurt and Blaine, Brittany and Santana’s story was also a long one. Theirs was a bit more complex since the issue of Santana’s traditional Latino family got in the way of many things. It took a while for Santana to get her confidence enough to get what she wanted. She was very inspiring, and I have no doubt that many people who struggled with the same issues could be inspired by her story.
12. Oberyn Martell, Game of Thrones
Despite his short stay, Oberyn Martell left his mark on this television show. He developed a cunning plan to avenge his sister’s death, using his looks and mischief to get what he wants. While he was not the first LGBTQ+ character in the show, he was the most complex and interesting one. He’s still definitely one of my favorite characters in Game of Thrones ever.
These are just some of the wide array of LGBTQ+ characters that can be found in television today. Mainstream television isn’t the only one that has been including more diversity, it can also be found in films. Take Love, Simon as an example. Hopefully, we will see more Love, Simon’s and television shows like Glee breaking down barriers for LGBTQ+ people in media.