The number of series we’ve seen appearing in recent years which are designed to afford greater visibility to the LGBTQ+ community has grown exponentially, and we finally begin to see members of this collective in leading roles. On the eve of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, we’ve prepared a selections of 10 shows to celebrate the occasion.
The devastating impact of the AIDS pandemic on a group of gay friends in London in the 1980s in the latest series from screenwriter Russell T. Davies, probably the series creator who has delivered the greatest volume and quality of work on gay issues for television. Here he builds a heartfelt tribute to all those taken by AIDS, based in large part on his own friendships from a lost youth, ensuring that tragedy doesn’t entirely blanket the spirit of a group of characters brimming with life who managed to remain upbeat despite everything going on around them.
Also based in the 80s, but this time in New York, where a boy finds a new family that welcomes him, warts and all, into the queer African-American and Latino communities ballroom scene, a subculture within the LGBTQ+ community and like a mixture of dance contest and fashion show where the key is to express yourself freely. With Ryan Murphy as co-creator and features the largest amount of trans actors in regular roles of any scripted television series in history.
Series that vindicates and celebrates the life of Cristina Ortiz, better known as La Veneno, and highlights her role as an icon of the LGBTQ+ community. The series from Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi portrays a time in which transsexual women were mistreated like members of some freak show and how Cristina Ortiz wielded the media attention that tried to reduce their situation to that of a joke to garner visibility for the trans community in Spain.
4. Please Like Me (Netflix).
This Australian series, created by comedian Josh Thomas, begins at the point when his girlfriend breaks up with him. The reason: he’s obviously gay. For him, being gay was just a phase, but he will soon realize that this is not exactly the case. With an excellent sense of humor, the series treats serious issues such as coming out to those around you and suicide.
5. Queer As Folk (Filmin).
The quintessential classic show and superficially a realistic depiction of gay urban life. Created by Russell T. Davies (as we have already mentioned, creator of many other series such as ‘It’s A Sin’, ‘A Very English Scandal’, ‘Cucumber’, ‘Banana’, etc.) which chronicles the lives of three gay men living in Manchester. Although the actors were all heterosexual, something in hindsight the creator himself admitted that he regretted, the series became hugely influential in providing visibility for the gay community.
6. Looking (HBO).
One of the many heirs to ‘Queer As Folk’ was this American series about three friends living in San Francisco who are openly gay (avoiding the usual out-of-the-closet plot). The series portrays their lifestyle and was initially intended as the homosexual counterpart to ‘Girls’. The cast features Jonathan Groff, who would later star in “Mindhunter.”
The show’s principal objective is to portray the fundamental concerns and lifestyle of today’s younger generation (so-called Generation Z). The series explores their way of life, sexuality and relationships, and features several characters who do not comply with what we’d refer to as heteronormativity, of whom the character of Jules stands out, who is transgender played by Hunter Schafer.
8. Gentleman Jack (HBO).
This British series narrates the real-life story of Anne Lister, considered the “first modern lesbian”, in that her lifestyle is consistent with her sexuality instead of hiding it. The character rejects the role imposed upon her by 19th century English society, alas something she cannot manage for her lovers to do. Based on Anne Lister’s diary, the series, written by Sally Wainwright (‘Happy Valley’) and starring Suranne Jones (‘Doctor Foster’) emerges as a veritable tornado crashing headlong into the life of feigned appearances, in favor of freedom.
9. The Bisexual (Filmin).
Bisexual characters are very rare on television, but there are exceptions such as the protagonist of this series who explains the story of a woman who, after breaking up with her lesbian partner, begins a relationship with a man, thus discovering her bisexuality and confronting the prejudices of her lesbian friends (which she also shared) who mistakenly associate bisexuality with promiscuity.
10. Sense8 (Netflix).
Probably the most important series for the LGBTQ+ community in recent years. The Wachowski sisters draw on the sci-fi genre and the story of a group of psychically connected characters to vindicate empathy and the need to understand those who are different ourselves. The series deals with issues such as identity, sexuality and gender, also in relation to politics and features one of the most diverse casts in recent television history.