Entertainment

Pride Month 2022: The best LGBTQ+ shows, from Heartstopper to Sexual Education

QTheir representation on television has grown exponentially in recent years. Out of dickinson to hacks, LGBTQ+ characters are no longer a symbolic gesture, but a true celebration. And while larger screen representation doesn’t detract from the community’s struggles, the progress made is well worth celebrating.

Of course, June isn’t the only month when you can catch these amazing shows. So here is an extensive list that will stay with you well beyond the month.

heart stopper (Netflix, one season, 2022–)

heart stopper is a warm and fuzzy portrayal of a new friendship between an unlikely pair, popular rugby player Nick (Kit Connor) and quiet boy Charlie (Joe Locke). It’s a refreshing approach to gay trauma, as Charlie is already out of the closet but patiently waiting while the guys he likes find their way out too.

The Haunting of Bly Manor (Netflix, one season, 2020)

Although set against the backdrop of a ghost story, The Haunting of Bly Manor is a lovely love story. An American (You’s Victoria Pedretti) takes a job as a nanny for two orphans in Great Britain. After she begins seeing apparitions roaming the property, she is forced to confront her own ghosts with the help of a potential new lover (Amelia Eve).

Feel well (Netflix, two seasons, 2020–2021)

Mae Martin and Charlotte Ritchie at Feel Good

(netflix)

In this semi-autobiographical retelling of the life of comedian Mae Martin Feel well revolves around Mae as they deal with their sobriety and new girlfriend. Though grounded in humor, the show pays special attention to breaking down the nuances and challenges of navigating gender and sexual identity.

please like me (Hulu US, Amazon Prime UK, four seasons, 2013–2016)

please like me is an Australian coming-of-age story about twenty-year-old Josh (Josh Thomas) who has just had his big gay awakening. With this new revelation, he’s trying to figure out how to proceed amid other significant life changes, including a recent move home to care for his suicidal mother.

Chop (HBO Max US, Amazon Prime UK, two seasons, 2021–)

Emmy Winner Chop features a cast whose identities uniquely reflect their characters. Cleverly written, it follows a fading stand-up comedian (Jean Smart) who teams up with a canceled comedy writer (Hannah Einbinder) to revitalize both of their careers. Despite the stark age difference and the generations that have shaped them, they eventually find a human connection that brings them closer together.

The Fosters (Hulu US, Disney+ UK, five seasons, 2013-2018)

It’s rare for an older lesbian couple to be portrayed on television, but The Fosters did so triumphantly for five years. It beautifully conveys the message that blood is not essential to starting a family and features two mothers, Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum), and their mixed household of Stef’s biological son, a couple of adopted children twins and two foster children.

Love, Victor (Disney+, three seasons, 2020–)

Michael Cimino and George Sear on Love, Victor

( HULU )

before heart stopper there was Love, Victor, a similarly positive look at a high school boy’s (Michael Cimino) journey to acceptance of his sexual orientation. LGBTQ+ stories often focus on the white narrative, but this show successfully challenges the norm by highlighting specific difficulties of queer acceptance in a black family.

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Good trouble (Hulu US, BBC iPlayer UK, four seasons, 2019–)

Good trouble is an offshoot of the fosters, Continuing the story of sisters Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Marianna (Cierra Ramirez) and their lives after college. When they move into an eclectic clique in Los Angeles, they start their own close-knit family of diverse backgrounds. Featuring multiple queer characters of color, it strengthens television’s portrayal of these crucial narratives.

dickinson (Apple TV+, three seasons, 2019-2021)

Hailee Steinfeld leads dickinson as the outspoken feminist and title character Emily Dickinson, who aspires to become the famous poet so revered today. While it’s no secret that the author had a romantic relationship with her brother’s wife, the inclusion of that personal side is deeply embedded in the series.

Schott’s Creek (Netflix, six seasons, 2015–2020)

What started out exclusively on Canadian screens quickly grew to immense popularity after landing on Netflix. Schott’s Creek is a laugh-out-loud sitcom about a once-wealthy family who are forced to adjust to newfound poverty after sudden bankruptcy. With Dan Levy playing the flamboyant and loveable David Rose, he conveys the importance of living without apologies.

Shrill (Hulu US, BBC iPlayer UK, three seasons, 2019-2021)

Lolly Adefope and ER Fightmaster on Shrill

(hulu)

SNL Comedian Aidy Bryant performs Shrill as an oversized Portland journalist who redefines her physical insecurities to fuel her dwindling career. Because it has a small cast, there’s plenty of room for the development of its supporting characters, including Fran (Lolly Adefope), a black lesbian who defies any sense of alibiism to which many shows have fallen prey.

Grey’s anatomy (Hulu US, Amazon Prime UK, 18 seasons, 2005–)

Over almost two decades Grey’s anatomy – the hit medical drama – has managed to work its way into the hearts of the LGBTQ+ community. Beginning with its first breakout couple, Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) and Callie (Sara Ramirez), it has maintained a steady stream of queer storylines throughout, even introducing its first non-binary character (played by Shrill‘s ER Fightmaster) in the latest series.

The bold (Hulu US, Netflix UK, five seasons, 2017-2021)

Set in the world of journalism, The bold is a feminist program about three young female employees who work for a women’s magazine. They learn to lean on each other as they overcome the obstacles of young adulthood, question heteronormativity, and fight against patriarchy.

sex education (Netflix, three seasons, 2019–)

sex education does not shy away from “the talk” – but addresses it with full force. Otis (Asa Butterfield) becomes his classmates’ unofficial sex educator, counseling them on intimate strangers. But what makes it truly monumental is the inclusion of gay sex education.

The wilderness (Amazon Prime, two seasons, 2020–)

Erana James and Mia Healey on The Wilds

(Amazon Studios)

The wilderness follows a group of girls stranded on a remote island, unaware that they are part of an elaborate social experiment. To survive, they must find an escape route before the elements overtake them. However, despite their possible demise, there is still room for budding lesbian romances.

College Girls Sex Life (HBO Max US, ITV Hub UK, One Season, 2021–)

Co-designed by Mindy Kaling, College Girls Sex Life is an empowering yet light-hearted look at four new college roommates and their sexual escapades. By normalizing women’s sexuality, it conveys the important message that they, too, can engage in promiscuity.

The morning show (Apple TV+, two seasons, 2019–)

The morning show is a workplace drama set in the midst of the #MeToo movement and attempts to pull back the curtain on the troubled inner workings of a news production company. While season two’s gay storyline may seem abrupt to some viewers, it takes a critical look at the backlash many public figures face when they come out.

For all mankind (Apple TV+, three seasons, 2019–)

Imagine an alternate reality where the Soviet Union won the space race and you have the premise of it For all mankind. It rewrites the past by seamlessly integrating women into historical milestones without ignoring their struggles. It is also cautious about government discrimination against gays and lesbians in the late 1960s.

And just like that (HBO Max US, NOW UK, one season, 2021–)

Sara Ramirez and Cynthia Nixon at And Just Like That

(HBO Max)

Eleven years after its famous predecessor And just like that is the TV spinoff of Sex and the City‘s Leading Actresses, minus Samantha (Kim Cattrall). In an attempt to make up for the original’s lack of variety, its inclusion can feel forced at times. Nonetheless, Miranda’s (Cynthia Nixon) later coming out isn’t a typical storyline, which makes her all the more powerful.

euphoria (HBO Max US, NOW UK, two seasons, 2019–)

a huge success euphoria is a dark fictionalization of high school students grappling with substance abuse and sex. The series put Hunter Schafer on the trans actor map with her portrayal of Jules, expanding the limited trans roles on screen.

joy (Disney+, six seasons, 2009-2015)

Despite its imperfections in diverse storytelling, joy still broke barriers for his generation. The cult classic about a high school choir reached millions of young viewers and provided a much-needed platform for the gay community. At the time, it was among the few shows to have queer characters at the forefront of its cast.

A million little things (Hulu US, four seasons, 2018–)

A million little things is a tearful drama about a group of friends whose bond is strengthened after one of them dies by suicide. Tragedy forces her to question her own existence and cherish the little moments. By subtly incorporating LGBTQ+ identities across generations, it is relevant to audiences of all ages.

atypical (Netflix, four seasons, 2017–2021)

Brigette Lundy-Paine and Fivel Stewart on Atypical

(netflix)

atypical is a sweet family comedy about a teenager (Keir Gilchrist) with autism who is ready for love and independence. And while the introduction to a lesbian storyline is slow, it’s a candid display of the confusion almost any queer person can relate to.

The Independent is an official publishing partner of Proud London 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/pride-month-london-2022-best-shows-b2113591.html Pride Month 2022: The best LGBTQ+ shows, from Heartstopper to Sexual Education

JOE HERNANDEZ

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