From classic cult favourites to more recent hits, we’re shining a spotlight on some of our favourite LGBTQ+ shows to watch on Netflix this Pride Month.
The entertainment industry has certainly come a long way in terms of representing LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and everyone on the spectrum) individuals. We’re all for seeing more of their stories and experiences played out onscreen, and it’s about time for non-straight characters to take up more than a supporting role. Whether they make us laugh or cry, they instil complexity, strength and vulnerability into a show, making it all the more compelling and loveable. In celebration of Pride Month, we’ve spotlighted our favourite LGBTQ+ shows to binge on Netflix right now.
Read More: New On Netflix Hong Kong
Adapted from the webcomic and graphic novel of the same name by Alice Oseman, British coming-of-age romcom Heartstopper tells the story of Charlie (Joe Locke), a gay schoolboy who falls in love with Nick (Kit Connor), the popular rugby player seated next to him in form class. The series received high acclaim for its representation of the LGBT community and has already been renewed for a second and third season.
Starring Ewan McGregor as the titular lead, “Halston” tells the untold story of the meteoric rise and subsequent fall of the first American celebrity fashion designer who shot to fame when he designed the pillbox hat Jacqueline Kennedy wore to her husband John F. Kennedy’s presidential inauguration.
AJ and the Queen
RuPaul stars as Robert (aka Ruby Red), a down-on-her-luck drag queen who’s joined by a 10-year-old scrappy, orphan boy as he travels across America in a rundown RV, performing one amazing number after another from club to club. You can look forward to cameos from Drag Race alumni like Latrice Royale, Katya, Bianca Del Rio, Jinkx Monsoon, Ongina and Ginger Minj (to name but a few).
“Eastsiders” follows on-and-off couple Thom (Van Hansis) and Cal (Kit Williamson) as they come to terms with their infidelity and substance abuse. The show also features RuPaul Drag Race star Willam, who received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor — marking the first time a drag queen has been nominated for an Emmy in an acting category.
This steamy Swedish teen drama is set at an elite boarding school where the Prince of Wilhelm of Sweden dives into a budding romance with a fellow student and all the drama that comes with it. Fans of the show will be glad to hear that a second season will be released this year.
I Am Not Okay With This
In this series based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel, Angsty teen Syd (Sophia Lillis) navigates the complexities of high school, crushing on her best friend, while trying to rein in her new superpowers. As if life wasn’t complicated enough already.
Hailed as one of the most refreshing and unabashed (not to mention bingeable) coming-of-age teen shows out there, “Sex Education” is very much about, well, sex, but also has much more to offer than advice on the subject. By the end of its second season, the British comedy got really interesting, with nearly half of the main characters having exhibited some form of queerness.
Please Like Me
This Australian dramedy series, created and mostly written by Josh Thomas, touches on some sad and all-too-realistic issues that come with adulthood, tackling themes of mental illness, sexuality, family and relationships. Thomas also plays the main character, a 20-something-year-old who, after being dumped by his girlfriend, realises he is gay.
We loved the OG Fab Five team from the 2003 series, but I think we can all agree that Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye has taken the series to a whole new level. Moving beyond just making over straight men, Johnathan, Tan, Karamo, Antoni and Bobby expand their specialised skills to better the lives of a diverse range of people in the communities they visit. Serving both comedic and tear-jerking moments, what really makes this show special is the heart the team put into what they do.
RuPaul’s Drag Race
With 14 seasons and a number of successful spin-offs under its belt, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has become a beloved cult favourite. The sickening reality competition show, that by the finale sees one of the charismatic contestants crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar, combines the best of “America’s Next Top Model”, “Lip Sync Battle”, “Project Runway” and more. What’s not to love?
This dark and quirky comedy series follows Tiff (Zoe Levin), a psychology student by day and dominatrix by night, as she recruits her gay best friend from high school, Pete, to be her assistant. Their sexual high school history adds a layer of complexity to the relationship, ultimately offering more than the typical GBF trope ever did. Through their new business relationship, they form a more meaningful bond and, in the process, discover new aspects of themselves.
Tales of the City
This continuation of the 1993 miniseries of the same name (based on a series of novels by Armistead Maupin) follows the intersecting lives of several different queer San Franciscans. Set a couple of decades ahead of the original, the 2019 reboot drama touches on contemporary issues such as HIV prevention and treatment, and has a more inclusive cast, including actors of colour, trans and gender-nonconforming actors and actors with disabilities.
“Special” is nothing short of just that. The show centres around a young gay man with cerebral palsy who decides to come out of the closet and finally go after the life he wants. The show is based on the memoir “I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves” by actor, director, comedian and LGBTQ activist Ryan O’Connell, who also stars in, writes and executive produces the series.
Grace and Frankie
Grace and Frankie’s lives are completely turned upside down when their husbands announce they are leaving them — for each other. The former rivals are then forced to live together and gradually grow closer as they come to grips with their new reality. The sitcom, in which Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin play the title roles, has become the longest-running Netflix original with seven seasons and 94 episodes.
Aside from adopting the characters’ names, the Riverdale series hasn’t taken much from the Archie Comics it’s based on. It was surprising for fans of the comic book series to see the high school rom-com take a gritty turn into the world of drugs, sex and murder. Forget Bughead and Varchie — the couple we’re totally obsessed with is Choni. It’s true, Cheryl is prone to becoming slightly unhinged at times, but we were glad to see her find love with bisexual tough girl Toni.
As hard as Rachel tries to hog the spotlight, we would argue that Kurt is the star of the show (creator Ryan Murphy created the role specially for Chris Colfer). After watching Kurt endure several slushies to the face, we were so glad when his dreamy love interest Blaine stepped into the picture. Glee does not shy away from positioning LGBTQ characters centerstage. Let’s not forget that Rachel had two gay dads, the rather unexpected romance between cheerleaders Brittany and Santana, and the show’s strong transgender characters Unique and Coach Beiste.
Editor’s Note: “Our Favourite LGBTQ+ Shows To Watch On Netflix This Pride Month” was originally written in November 2016 and was most recently updated by Team Sassy in June 2022.
All images courtesy of Netflix Hong Kong.