The 15 Best LGBTQ Shows on Netflix Right Now (January 2021)

From tears to laughter, this rainbow of shows has it all

LGBTQ shows on the Netflix streaming service have increased a lot in recent years with a growing number of new series featuring strong gay, bi, lesbian, and trans main characters viewers can relate to and learn from. Best of all, these Netflix series cover a range of genres, finally delivering more representation to romance, drama, comedy, mystery, and sci-fi fans.

Here are some of the best lesbian, trans, bi, and gay shows on Netflix worth adding to your list.

01
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Bonding (2019): BFFs in an Unusual Line of Work

Brendan Scannell and Zoe Levin in 'Bonding.'

Netflix

IMDb rating: 7.2/10

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Zoe Levin, Brendan Scannell, Micah Stock

Created By: Rightor Doyle

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 2

Bonding's second season debuts on Netflix in January. The show explores the friendship between a grad student moonlighting as a dominatrix and her gay BFF who becomes her assistant. The first season sees the pair deal with stage fright, telling their significant others about their work, and more.

02
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Cable Girls (2017): A Soapy Period Piece Set in 1920s Spain

Blanca Suárez, Nadia de Santiago, Maggie Civantos, and Ana Fernández in 'Cable Girls.'

Netflix

IMDb rating: 7.6/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Blanca Suárez, Yon González, Ana Fernández

Created By: Ramón Campos, Gema R. Neira, Teresa Fernández-Valdés

TV Rating: TV-14

Number of Seasons: 5

Cable Girls is a period piece set in 1920s Madrid. It chronicles the lives of four women who all work for the National Telephone Company. Each has their own reason for being there, and they form a close friendship as they navigate their personal and professional lives. It's worth watching if you're looking for a little soapy escapism.

03
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The Mortified Guide: Hilarious and Heartbreaking Childhood Tales

Title screen for 'The Mortified Guide'

Mortified Media

IMDb rating: 7.8/10

Genre: Documentary, Comedy

Starring: Renee Albert, Brooke Stone, Adam Ruben 

Created By: n/a

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

Everyone can find something to relate to in this six-episode comedic docuseries about adolescence. It covers first loves, fitting in, dealing with your family, and more. Adults get on a stage and share their childhood writings and art in front of total strangers, making them some of the bravest people on the planet. Each episode tackles a singular theme and then explores it from a variety of heartbreaking and hilarious perspectives. This is the show for you if you want to engage in a little "sympathetic cringing."

04
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Love Sick: The Series: Best Show Based on an Online Thai BL Novel

Harit Cheewagaroon and Chonlathorn Kongyingyong in 'Love Sick: The Series'

IMDb rating: 7.4/10

Genre: Romance

Starring:  Harit Cheewagaroon, Chonlathorn Kongyingyong, Phumphothingam Nawat

Created By: n/a

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 2

Love Sick: The Series is a Thai TV series that first aired in 2014. It's an adaptation of the online novel Love Sick: The Chaotic Lives of Blue Shorts Guys by INDRYTIMES and focuses on the lives of students attending an all-male college. At the center is Noh, president of the college's music club, and Phun, vice-president of the student council. The series is notable for beginning the so-called "Boys Love" boom in Thailand, a pop culture subgenre that depicts homoerotic relationships between male characters.

Only the first season of Love Sick: The Series is currently available on Netflix.

05
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Dawson's Creek (1998): TV's First 'Passionate' Gay Kiss

James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, and Joshua Jackson in 'Dawson's Creek'

Sony Pictures 

IMDb rating: 6.6/10

Genre: Drama, Romance

Starring: James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams

Created By: Kevin Williamson

TV Rating: TV-14

Number of Seasons: 6

The late '90s teen drama Dawson's Creek is notable for featuring the first "passionate" kiss between two men on primetime television. Sure, the smooch was just a few seconds long and part of a secondary plot, but it's still a historic milestone in gay representation. The rest of the series is full of fun '90s pop culture references soap opera angst. But, if you just want to get to the kiss, skip to the Season 3 finale "True Love."

06
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The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020): A Tale of Ghosts, Love, and Loss

Amelia Eve, Victoria Pedretti, and Amelie Bea Smith in 'The Haunting of Bly Manor.'

 Netflix

IDMb rating: 7.4/10

Genre: Horror

Starring: Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Amelia Eve

Created By: Mike Flanagan

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

Yet another offering from modern-day horror maestro Mike Flanagan, The Haunting of Bly Manor is loosely based on Henry James's 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw. It uses the same creative team and much of the same cast as Flanagan's previous Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House, which is itself an adaptation of the classic Shirley Jackson novel. While some say Bly Manor isn't as spooky as its predecessor and it's a little slow to start, it's also emotional and heartbreaking. If you're a fan of dark, Gothic stories, give this a chance.

07
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Grand Army (2020): A Sincere Portrait of Gen Zers

Maliq Johnson and Jaden Jordan in 'Grand Army.'

 Netflix

IDMb rating: 7.5/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Odessa A’zion, Odley Jean, Amir Bageria 

Created By: Katie Cappiello

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

Grand Army is a teen drama that focuses on the lives of five high school students as they struggle with issues of sex, race, politics, and more. While it arguably adds nothing new to the genre while discussing those problems, it's helped by a talented cast of young actors, including Amir Bageria who plays Sid, a Harvard-bound swimmer and the son of Indian immigrants struggling with his sexuality. While the show might be a little too gritty for some viewers, it's often sincere in how it portrays Gen Z life.

08
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Tales of the City (2019): A Revival of Armistead Maupin's Classic Stories

Laura Linney and Paul Gross in 'Tales of the City.'

Netflix

 

IDMb rating: 7.4/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Laura Linney, Elliot Page, Paul Gross

Created By: Lauren Morelli

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

This series is based on Armistead Maupin's bestselling book of the same name, and it's a revival of the TV show that debuted on PBS in 1993. It takes place in the mid-1970s before the AIDS epidemic and tells the story of a pot-growing landlady and her fascinating tenants. While the 1993 series was considered controversial, this Netflix adaptation is obviously of a different time and lacks some of the impact of the original as a result, but it retains its sweetness and sincerity.

09
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Pose (2018): Best Gender-Nonconforming Ballroom Drama

Billy Porter in 'Pose'

FX

 

IMDb rating: 8.6/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Billy Porter

Created By: Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 3

Pose is a series about the Black and Latino LGBTQ ballroom culture of the 1980s and '90s. Blanca Rodriguez (Mj Rodriguez) is an HIV-positive trans woman who decides to form her own House, the community's term for a group of dancers, and she quickly finds herself with a new family. The show is a glossy soap opera that also manages to be emotionally affecting as it deals with issues like money, gender, politics, race, and sexuality. Plus, it features an award-winning performance from Billy Porter as a ballroom emcee turned AIDS activist named Pray Tell.

10
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Schitt’s Creek (2015): Best Ground-Breaking Gay Comedy

Noah Reid and Daniel Levy in Schitt's Creek on Netflix.

POPTV

IMDb rating: 8.5/10

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Dan Levy

Created By: Dan Levy, Eugene Levy

TV Rating: TV-14

Number of Seasons: 6

Schitt’s Creek follows the hilarious misadventures of a rich family who suddenly find themselves out of pocket and are forced to move to a small rural town called, well, Schitt’s Creek. The series features a variety of now-iconic characters skillfully played by perfectly cast actors, but the standout star is the openly-gay series creator, David Levy, who plays the pansexual son, David Rose.

His city character being forced to live in the middle of nowhere makes for numerous laugh-out-loud, fish-out-of-water scenarios, but the show also manages to explore him with sensitivity and earnestness that’s both endearing and relatable. While David does experience a relationship with a female character in its first season, it’s his romance with a closeted gay man in its third that really breaks new ground and quickly proves itself to be one of the best representations of a male same-sex relationship on TV that easily puts other LGBT shows to shame.

11
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Black Lightning (2018): Featuring TV's First Queer Superhero of Color

Chantal Thuy (left) and Nafessa Williams in 'Black Lightning.'

 Warner Bros.

IMDb rating: 6.1/10

Genre: Action, Drama

Starring: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams

Created By: Salim Akil

TV Rating: TV-14

Number of Seasons: 3

Based on the series from DC Comics, Black Lightning is about retired superhero Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), who's now working as a high-school principal. But, he suits up once again to save his daughters from trouble. He's back to crime-fighting as Black Lightning full-time soon after. Actress Nafessa Williams made television history playing the first queer superhero of color, Pierce's daughter Anissa. The show has received some acclaim during its four seasons for its portrayal of sexuality and race.

12
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Trinkets (2019): A Show That Treats Queerness Like It's No Big Deal

Kiana Madeira, Brianna Hildebrand, and Quintessa Swindell in 'Trinkets.'

Netflix

 

IMDb rating: 7.1/10

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama

Starring: Brianna Hildebrand, Kiana Madeira, Quintessa Swindell

Created By: Amy Andelson, Emily Meyer, Kirsten Smith

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 2

Trinkets is the story of three teenage girls who bond while attending the same Shoplifter's Anonymous meeting. Together, they navigate through family issues, high school drama, and trying to fit in. While reviews of the series are mixed, it's worth watching for Brianna Hildebrand's Elodie, a gay character who's just allowed to be gay. Her friends and family accept her, it's not a big deal, and it's not a major part of her storyline, which is a refreshing change from how LBGTQ characters are normally portrayed.

13
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Hollywood (2020): A Sometimes Corny Love Letter to Tinsel Town

Jim Parsons in 'Hollywood'

Netflix

 

IMDb rating: 7.6/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: David Corenswet, Darren Criss, Laura Harrier

Created By: Ian Brennan, Ryan Murphy

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

The Netflix miniseries Hollywood is about a group of aspiring actors, screenwriters, and filmmakers during the post-World War II era. The production values are, as you might expect, phenomenal.

Beneath the glamor is a story about power dynamics and an unfair system that negatively affects women, gay people, and people of color even to this day. Some of the characters are fictionalized versions of real Hollywood actors, such as Rock Hudson, a closeted gay man, and the first celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness. The show imagines happy endings for many real-life actors and actresses, and in doing so, it kind of glosses over issues that still plague the industry today. Still, it's a beautiful fairy tale of a show made with good intentions.

14
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Special (2019): An Honest Portrayal of Being Both Gay and Disabled

Augustus Prew and Ryan O'Connell in 'Special.'

 Netflix

IMDb rating: 7.6/10

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Ryan O'Connell, Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel

Created By: Ryan O'Connell

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

Based on Ryan O'Connell's memoir I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, Special is about a gay man named Ryan who lives with cerebral palsy. Like the book, the show is honest, funny, and self-aware. O'Connell stars as himself in the Netflix series, for which he also serves as executive producer and writer, and it's getting a second season in the near future.

15
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Grace and Frankie: Best Depiction of an Older Gay Couple

Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen in 'Grace and Frankie'

Netflix

IMDb rating: 8.3/10

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen

Created By: Marta Kauffman, Howard J. Morris

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 7

Grace and Frankie is a show about two women in their 70s who move in together when their husbands reveal they're gay and in a 20-year relationship. Sure, that premise sounds like a pure sitcom cliché. But there are a lot of things to like in this Netflix comedy, and one is the portrayal of Sol (Sam Waterston) and Robert's (Martin Sheen) relationship.

The idea that Sol and Robert want to live openly gay and get married is very relatable, but their happiness comes at their wives' expense, and the show's first season doesn't shy from that. Waterston and Sheen are iconic actors and they make their characters' relationship–with themselves and their ex-wives–believable and complex.

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