WRITTEN BY: ALLISON CHUDINA
So often in television, LGBTQ characters are tokenized or made to feel like background characters. Their storylines are frequently put on the backburner or even fetishized.
However, the following five TV shows do a wonderful job of avoiding these cliches and give LGBTQ characters the screen time and storylines they deserve.
“Killing Eve” is a great example of normalizing queer female characters in television.
Both main characters, Eve and Villanelle, have feelings for each other, but the show doesn’t spend time explaining these feelings or suggesting there’s anything abnormal about it. Instead, the show focuses on the actual plot itself, which involves crime and murder. (Think “Sherlock,” except with two powerful women at the forefront.)
The fact that Eve and Villanelle feel an attraction to one another is simply a part of who they are, rather than a queer-baiting plot device.
“Pose” is an extraordinary achievement for trans people of color and the LGBTQ community as a whole because it is the first TV series to feature multiple transgender women of color in leading roles.
This show tackles the ballroom scene of the late 1980s, Madonna’s “Vogue” era and the AIDS crisis.
It is a powerful look into some very important issues, and the show tackles these issues expertly with sensitivity and strength. Trans actresses seldom get the same opportunities as cisgender women in Hollywood, but “Pose” proves the world is changing.
“Schitt’s Creek” has been around for many years, but it is garnering new fans and popularity due to the show winning seven primetime Emmy’s this year and basically sweeping the comedy category.
This show features a pansexual main character, David, who is never tokenized or made the butt of jokes. Instead, he is an incredibly well-developed character with dimension.
He also has one of television’s most beautifully written relationships in recent memory with his love interest, Patrick. This relationship is so naturally developed that you never think about the fact that it is a “gay relationship.” It is merely a relationship, and that is so important.
“Euphoria” is the newest TV show mentioned on this list, and it completely blew up when it first premiered on HBO due to its vibrant and honest portrayal of teen life.
There are many fluid characters on this show, but it is the character of Jules that has really struck a chord with fans. Jules, who is trans, is an electrifying presence every time she is on screen, and she is portrayed by an actual trans actress.
“Euphoria” may be a depressing and dark show at times, but it features many members of the LGBTQ community at the series’ forefront, and that shouldn’t be ignored.
Orange is the New Black
“Orange is the New Black” is the oldest TV show on this list, having first premiered on Netflix in 2013. That being said, it still has relevance today because it remains such a landmark TV show for the LGBTQ community.
There are countless LGBTQ characters who never feel like cliches or stereotypes. Almost every character on the show is well-developed and complex, and there are no under-used characters.
This is also the show that gave trans actress Laverne Cox her big break, and she was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy Award in any acting category for her role as Sophia Burset.
This show is worth a watch if only for recognizing its role in normalizing LGBTQ people and relationships.