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The 8 Best Netflix Shows That Actually Have Good LGBTQ Representation

Warning: Some Spoilers Ahead

Have you ever scrolled through Netflix, past all the cheesy rom-coms, and saw only straight couples? Well, I’ve been there too. It’s no secret that LGBTQ people have way less representation in pop culture than heterosexual relationships. Sure, it’s gotten way better, but sometimes, we just want a good quality binge-worthy show that includes gay characters that are there for more than just, well, being gay. While Love, Simon, is an amazing, heart-warming movie, I can only watch it so many times before I get tired of the “my whole existence is built around my sexuality” trope. And yes, I am also very specifically looking at the monstrosity that is the 2013 “movie” (can you even call it that?) GBF. Anyway, I’m no stranger to watching eight seasons of a show just for that one episode of gay interaction, but I knew there had to be more out there. So, I’m here to share with you my top eight TV shows that have actual, good, accurate LGBTQ representation.

Sex Education (2019-present)

If you’ve seen this show, you’ll know just how inclusive it is. For those of you who haven’t, the show follows Otis, a teenage boy learning how to be comfortable with the idea of sex, also exploring many other characters and their navigations through sexuality. We see gay, lesbian, pansexual, bisexual, and even asexual characters in this show (plus, it gets major props for its diversity, as well). The only missing link in Sex Education is its lack of transgender representation. However, it offers a ton of representation overall, which is more than many shows can say. 

The Umbrella Academy (2019-present)

More specifically, the second season. Though I may be biased since I adore Elliot Page as an actor, I found this show to be not only a great inclusion of a lesbian character, but also a simply amazing show. The show relays a lesbian-romance storyline in a way that doesn’t scream “TV network trying to gain inclusion points” while also giving members of the LGBTQ community that lesbian superhero romance we’ve been waiting for. The Umbrella Academy would definitely rank very high on my list of all-time favourite shows, and the LGBTQ representation was the super sweet cherry on top.

Feel Good (2020—)

Before we even start on the representation, we have to appreciate the fact that this show’s leading woman, Mae Martin, also created and directed the show. Like, is that lesbian/female power or what? Feel Good combines a passionate first-time lesbian love with realistic hardships of a relationship in a way that is both beautiful and entertaining. You just want to know if these characters are going to make it; if they’ll figure it all out and realize they’re meant to be. It’s just like all those heartbreakingly amazing romantic movies or shows you’ve seen, except this time, the leads are finally gay!

One Day At A Time (2017-present)

The revival of this 1975 family sitcom is not only so much better than the original, but also so binge-worthy you’ll watch the whole first season in one day. It focuses on a Cuban-American family run by Penelope, a powerful veteran single mom raising two teenagers, and her daily struggle with depression and PTSD. In the show, teen Elena comes out to her mom as gay. The show highlights Penelope’s struggle with accepting her daughter as someone new in such a realistic and meaningful way. Seeing Elena discover her new lesbian identity and find a partner is everything I could have ever wanted in a show. I can almost taste the jealousy from my grade nine baby gay self.

Schitt’s Creek (2015-2020)

We can’t talk about binge-worthy Netflix shows in general without mentioning Schitt’s Creek. Overall, this show could make it on any list of fantastic TV shows to watch on Netflix, but it gets extra points for the inclusion of the character, David Rose. We discover through a very detailed metaphor on different types of wine that David is pansexual. Eventually, he finds a partner and the show ends with the most tissue-grabbing TV wedding I’ve honestly ever seen. This show is hilarious, entertaining, heartwarming, and hilarious (Yes, I said hilarious twice. If you’ve seen it, you’ll understand). Most importantly, Schitt’s Creek includes an LGBTQ character in such a smooth way. It’s never a big deal that David is pansexual, it is simply a fact of life––and I love that in a show.

Ratched (2020—)

If you’ve seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, you’ll know all about the evil ways of Nurse Ratched, and you’ll also love the new Netflix show based on her character. Ratched is a dark psychological thriller about the time of mental asylums and lobotomies. Sarah Paulson plays our protagonist, who ends up in a relationship with a woman. Their relationship is shown realistically, and also gives us a romance that ties in with the dark aspects of the plot seamlessly. Another super important example of representation, especially if what you’re looking for is not always a sappy romance show. This gives LGBTQ thriller/horror fans the show they deserve. 

Everything Sucks (2018)

Another in the sitcom category comes the cute (and sadly cancelled) show Everything Sucks. I know I was super disappointed when this show wasn’t renewed for another season, so if you get cancellation disappointment when a show you like ends too soon, I would recommend staying away from this one. Otherwise, this show is a strict 10/10. In ES, we see high school girls Kate and Emeline form a heartwarming friendship that evolves into romance by the end of the season. It’s a super cute, super realistic show that follows the ups and downs of high school and finding yourself, alongside an entertaining film-project storyline. Overall, the gay doesn’t overshadow the plot, but also doesn’t take a back seat. In my eyes, it’s the perfect combination.

Atypical (2017-present)

This is a show that not only includes LGBTQ representation, but also the lifestyle of an autistic teen in a realistic way. While being one of my favourite shows, Atypical ranks a bit lower on this list because, while realistic, it doesn’t give LGBTQ characters the best portrayal. Casey, the little sister of autistic teen Sam, cheats on her boyfriend by kissing her closest friend, Izzie, who just so happens to be a girl. So, this show does give the trope of “lesbians only become lovers because one of them cheats on their boyfriend/husband”. However, these thing happen in real life, and are often shown as storylines in heterosexual media, so why not portray all sides of life as part of the LGBTQ community, even the bad sides? Atypical also, unfortunately, doesn’t give us any gay content until the end of season three, so that’s another reason it’s lower on the list. As far as TV shows go, though, it is a fantastic one, and I would recommend watching it––even if not for the gay content.

I’d probably give every single one of these shows a 10/10 for tying plot with realistic LGBTQ storylines in a way that gives us the representation that we have long yearned for. These eight shows all demonstrate LGBTQ characters in the ways that LGBTQ characters deserve to be shown — accurately, and in a true-to-life way. These amazingly fleshed out characters have their own stories and aren’t just sidekicks that are killed off after one season. So, to sum up, if you’re looking for shows that you can watch, enjoy, binge, love, or all of these combined, check out these eight awesome shows on Netflix for some actual LGBTQ representation.

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Hi everyone! My name is Jess and I'm a 4th year English and Creative Writing Major at Western University! I love to write, sing, watch Netflix, and just explore creatively. This is my second year with HerCampus and I couldn't be more excited!
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