In 2019, LGBTQ television has never been better. According to GLAAD, one in 11 or 8.8 percent of characters on scripted prime-time shows identify as LGBTQ, which amounts to more than 100 more than there were last year. This means more representation, inclusivity, and accuracy and television content that will continue to break down barriers and highlight a variety of identities across all spectrums. Here are ten of the most influential shows airing right now.
The L Word pioneered portrayals of many LGBTQ identities on television: the first interracial lesbian couple, the first regular transgender character, and the first deaf lesbian. It’s a classic for messy lesbian drama and chaos. A reboot is in the works for late 2019.
The Italian webseries G&T starts with the reunion of two college friends who shared an intimate moment five years ago. It addresses homophobia, coming out, self-identity, and concerns surrounding civil unions in Italy with exaggerated drama and lots of romance.
Lena Waithe’s reboot of the 1992 movie Boomerang has two Black queer characters in the Eddie Murphy and Robin Givens roles, one a bisexual masc man, something rarely seen on television. Airing on BET, Boomerang illustrates all identities: trans, nonbinary, butch, femme, and also drag performers. It’s special to see Boomerang do what other shows have not: depicting the the diversity within the Black queer community.
Two Mexican-American sisters return to their childhood home in LA after their mother’s death in Starz’s Vida, and join in the fight over gentrification. Latinx queers are seldom represented in mainstream media, but Vida pushes those voices to the forefront.
The Chicago-based webseries Brujos follows four gay Latino grad students—who also happen to be a coven of warlocks—as they try to survive being hunted by wealthy white men. Mixing horror and humor, Brujos is an allegory for a heteronormative society and white supremacy.
Anissa Pierce (or Thunder) is a lesbian medical student and metahuman in the CW show Black Lightning, based on the DC comic. Her ability to withstand flying bullets is used as a symbol for sexual awakening and is linked to many “coming out” moments in the second season.
Armistead Maupin’s cult classic Tales of the City followed Mary Ann Singleton, who moves from the midwest to San Francisco, where for the first time she experiences drugs, a range of gender identities, and the LGBTQ community. A reboot premiered this month on Netflix and features Laura Linney, reprising her role as Mary Ann from the original 1993 TV miniseries, along with Ellen Page, who plays her daughter.
Élite is a teen drama on Netflix that covers several bases: polyamory, sex, HIV, bribery, and murder. It’s centered around a group of low-income students who have received a scholarship to an elite Spanish prep school. What follows is surprisingly queer (and very binge-worthy).
Jo and Carter, a white trans woman and a queer Black man, are the former lovers and current best friends at the center of The T. The webseries follows their lives in Chicago. There is still very little trans representation in TV, and The T may just be what we have all been waiting for.
And of course, there’s Pose, the flashy and gaudy FX drama series set in the 1980s that follows the New York City ball subculture with choreographed dancing and a wide range of LGBTQ characters who are actually portrayed by real LGBTQ actors. v