Happy Pride month, everyone! For those of you who haven’t been following my story, this is my first Pride out as a not-straight transgender man. Because of this, I’ve been trying to watch anything and everything with LGBTQIA+ representation. This list is comprised of my top 10 favorites so far.
10. Young Royals
Young Royals is a Netflix original series about a young prince who falls in love with a member of the same sex, and is scared to follow his heart because of his obligation to the throne. There’s love and drama, intrigue and debauchery, politics and heartache. The reason why it’s on this list is because it casts homosexuality in a realistic light, as love between two people. It’s beautiful.
9. First Day
Hannah is a 12 year old trans girl who is transferring to a new school to escape her bullies and live as her true self. This short Hulu show is on the list because it accurately portrays how tough it is for trans youth in the world. It’s low on the list because the subject matter is heavy and potentially triggering. Hannah experiences an overwhelming amount of transphobia from all directions. The show handles it well and issues a trigger warning at the beginning of each episode, along with contact information for The Trevor Project. I believe this show is important for raising awareness about transgender issues, however, watch at your own risk, especially if you’re trans. It didn’t trigger me, but it did sit heavily on my heart for the rest of the day.
Pose, which can be found on Hulu, is about ballroom culture in New York City during the AIDS epidemic in the late 80s to early 90s. There are gay characters and trans characters, drag and fashion. The show is beautifully and respectfully done. The plot does get pretty heavy as they deal with AIDS running rampant through their community. My favorite part about this show is how much pure love the characters have for each other. Also, I think there’s only, maybe, one straight person in the entire show, and I’m not even sure about him, to be completely honest.
7. The Haunting of Bly Manor (spoilers)
If you don’t want Bly Manor spoilers, skip to number 6. The romance between Dani and the gardener is beautiful and much needed in such a heavy show. The love they share is so pure and took almost the entire show to build up and come to the surface. I noticed it starting early on, but told myself that it wasn’t going to happen. I’m not used to seeing representation like that in mainstream shows. So when it did happen, I was pleasantly surprised.
6. Sense 8
This Netflix original series has gay, lesbian, and trans representation from the very beginning. I suspect another character is bisexual, but she hasn’t come out and said it (yet), so I can’t fully speak to that. They’re all main characters, too. The diversity in this show is fantastic as the ensemble cast are spread across the world. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, England, India, Korea, and Kenya. This isn’t higher on my list only because I haven’t finished the whole show yet.
I haven’t finished this Amazon original yet, but it already holds a dear place in my heart. Transparent is about a retired father who starts the transition into a woman. She struggles to come out to her three adult children. This particular show is dear to me because I didn’t start my transition until I was already 31. Most trans characters have known about their gender since they were quite young. It’s refreshing to see a character who discovers it later in life, like I did.
4. Yuri on Ice
This Funimation anime is nicknamed Gay Panic in my friend group. Yuri is a Japanese figure skater who admires Viktor, a Russian figure skater. After Yuri does one of Viktor’s routines, a video of it ends up on the internet and inspires Viktor. Victor comes to Japan and becomes Yuri’s coach. Through this, Yuri struggles with the (apparently thin) line between admiration for someone’s talent and romantic love and attraction.
3. Our Flag Means Death
This HBO comedy is about pirates. Gay pirates. That was the only thing it took to get me to watch it. the phrase ‘gay pirates.’ This show fills me with pure joy, and it was just renewed for another season on June 1st, starting Pride month off on a great note. I don’t want to spoil the show, so I’ll leave it at this: gay pirates make me very happy.
This Netflix show is about two teenage boys coming to terms with their feelings for one another. There is also a lesbian couple who struggle with coming out, and a trans girl trying to live her best life. This show gave me feelings. Lots of them. It fills me with joy and I care for the characters so much. Warning: there is some homophobia sprinkled throughout the show. also, there’s a potentially triggering assault scene in the first episode.
1. We’re Here
This is my current favorite show of all time. This HBO original is all about Drag. Three well-known drag queens – Eureka, Shangela, and Bob the Drag Queen – travel so small towns all across the USA and uplift and encourage the loval LGBTQIA+ communities by putting on a drag show with a few locals. The show tackles subjects like small town bigotry, including racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. As it’s a reality show, they’re working with real people and helping real communities. We’re Here lifts me up along with these communities. As a disabled trans drag king, I see myself represented in to many of these episodes. Also, I have a bit of a crush on Shangela.
Are there other LGBTQIA+ shows that you feel I should watch? Let me know in the comments below!