Lists · TV

23 Great Shows You Should Binge Watch During Pride Month

Celebrate strides in LGBTQ+ representation with 23 shows you can watch right now.
Schitts Creek
By  · Published on June 15th, 2018

There’s no time like Pride month to celebrate the recent bounty of diverse LGBTQ+ characters gracing our TV screens. While big-screen blockbusters hesitate to label characters as anything but straight (at least not until after the movie’s come out, likely for fear of losing money in global markets), viewers at home are able to see their identities, love stories, and struggles reflected on screen more than ever, if they know where to look. I’d say we as viewers are lucky, but countless people have worked very hard to get to this point, and luck had little to do with it. And while the television industry still a way to go in terms of fully representing its viewers–intersectional representations are still more scarce, and the “bury your gays” trope doesn’t seem to be going anywhere–there’s plenty of LGBTQ-friendly content to check out in the meantime.

If you’re ready to kick back and celebrate Pride with a good old-fashioned binge-watch, consider checking out one of the following 23 shows. Keep in mind that this list isn’t exhaustive. It only includes currently airing series, which means some great, recently departed ones like Orphan Black, Halt and Catch Fire, Sense8, and The Fosters aren’t included. I’ve also skipped out on shows whose queer representation comes in the form of characters who aren’t canonically ‘out’ to the audience (sorry, Will from Stranger Things), once-great shows that have lost their luster or their gay plots (sorry Shameless, Orange is the New Black, and The 100), shows that use gay stereotypes for cheap laughs (you know who you are), and shows that are just altogether unsatisfying (not that sorry, 13 Reasons Why).

Also, this list doesn’t include reality shows, but if you’re a human being with a pulse you should definitely still go watch Queer Eye.

Billions (2016-present)

For two years now, this big, brassy Showtime drama with a has slowly been converting skeptics to fans, thanks largely to an exceptional cast headed up by Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis. Come for the melodrama, stay for Asia Kate Dillon as Taylor Mason, who is commonly cited as the first non-binary character on American television (though for what it’s worth, I think The Killing’s Bullet was also gender-fluid or non-binary). Dillon was introduced in the second season of the corporate thriller but was bumped to a larger role in its most recent (and best-reviewed) third season.

Where to watch: Directly on Showtime or through Showtime’s streaming add-on for Hulu or Amazon Prime.

Bojack Horseman (2014-present)

On the surface, Todd Chavez’s sexuality seems like a very minor part of this emotional Netflix dramedy about a washed-up talking horse. Played by Aaron Paul, the goofy human character is often on the periphery of a Bojack-centric story, but when the narrative perspective does pull back to focus on him–as when he eventually comes out as asexual–what we are given is earnest and lovely. Todd is still trying to figure out what that label means to him (at this point, he still isn’t out to several main characters), but so far it looks like series creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg has been treating Todd’s story with his signature thoughtful consideration.

Where to watch: Netflix.

The Bold Type (2017-present)

This Freeform channel show has been compared positively to Sex and the City, and though it follows a group of young women working at a New York City female-centric magazine, The Bold Type is wonderfully modern in many ways that Carrie Bradshaw’s 90s upper-crust feminist clique are not. Take for example Aisha Dee’s character, Kat Edison, a woman of color questioning her sexuality when she meets Adena, an openly lesbian Muslim photographer. Dee is chronically great in shows that are over before you know it, including Sweet/Vicious and an arc of Channel Zero, so here’s hoping The Bold Type has the staying power this up-and-comer deserves.

Where to watch: For free on the Freeform website and on Crackle.

Broad City (2014-present)

Jewish New Yorker Ilana Wexler (Ilana Glazer) is a lady of many hidden talents, including finding creative hiding spots for weed, ignoring serious food allergies, and maintaining a job while doing no work at all. A true stoner inspiration and one half of Comedy Central’s best dynamic duo (along with Abbi Jacobson), Ilana is also casually not-so-straight. Though we know early on about her vision of a future where “everybody’s gonna be like, caramel and queer,” her sexuality first comes to the forefront in a reliably out-there season two episode when she falls for her doppelganger (Alia Shawkat). The gut-bustingly funny show only has one more season to go before it wraps, so catch up on all the hijinks now.

Where to watch: Hulu.

Brooklyn 99 (2013-present)

Post-The Office, Mike Schur shows have been a beacon of life-affirming sweetness and levity, and GLAAD award winner Brooklyn 99 is no exception. The police station workplace comedy recently made the jump from Fox to NBC after a fraught, super-brief cancellation, and its representation of a realistic queer experience is a major factor in fans’ commitment to the show. Last season included an incredible arc in which detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) begrudgingly came out as bisexual, first to her coworkers and then to her family. When her family’s response is less than welcoming, openly gay police Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) gives her a pep talk that’ll make you reach for a tissue. This storyline surrounding Rosa’s newly revealed bisexuality is empowering for a lot of reasons, one of which is Schur and company’s decision to give it a place of honor in the show’s chronology (the 99th and 100th episodes) while also continuing to flesh it out in the back half of the season.

Where to watch: Hulu.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-present)

Getting Bi

This zany, funny, and often deeply emotional musical show has done something that few other shows have attempted until recently: it’s ignored the traditional (and unrealistic) trope of including just one token LGBTQ+ character. Instead, over the course of its three seasons, multiple main characters have come out as bisexual to varying levels of fanfare. Most memorably, Daryyl (Pete Gardner) delivers his good news in a rousing song-and-dance number called “Gettin’ Bi,” which casually and joyfully corrects several common misunderstandings and stereotypes about bisexuality–many of which had been perpetuated by other TV shows.

Where to watch: Netflix, with the latest episodes available on the CW website.

The CW’s DC universe (a.k.a. “the Arrowverse”) (2012-present)

The fact that Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, Arrow, and The Flash all feature significant LGBTQ+ representation and have maintained intensely loyal viewership should be a lesson to studio execs who still think gay sci-fi and superhero stories aren’t marketable. Supergirl is probably the most noteworthy of the bunch, as Alex Danvers’ sensitively handled coming-out storyline inspired a legion of impassioned shippers, young LGBTQ+ fans, and unassuming viewers alike. Black Lightning also deserves massive props for introducing a badass superhero who happens to be a QWOC (queer woman of color), Anissa (Nafessa Williams) AKA Thunder. Now can we finally talk about getting that Dora Milaje love story on screen?

Where to watch: Netflix, with the latest episodes available on the CW website.

Dear White People (2017-present)

Justin Simien’s half-hour show is a biting inside look at the microcosm of a historically white modern Ivy League college through the personalized POVs of each member of a group of Black students. Each episode is better than the last, and season two is quippier, sleeker, and more emotionally impactful than the first. Awkward student journalist Lionel (DeRon Horton) is the first gay character we meet, and although other students’ sexualities are revealed later, his cringe-worthy yet honest journey to self-acceptance and confidence gets the most screen time. This show hasn’t been picked up for a third season yet, so right now your viewership counts.

Where to watch: Netflix.

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Valerie Ettenhofer is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, TV-lover, and mac and cheese enthusiast. As a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects, she covers television through regular reviews and her recurring column, Episodes. She is also a voting member of the Critics Choice Association's television and documentary branches. Twitter: @aandeandval (She/her)