The 17 Best LGBTQ Shows on Netflix Right Now (October 2020)

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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I Am Not Okay With This (2020): Best Irreverent Superhero Origin Story

Sophia Lillis and Sofia Bryant in 'I Am Not Okay With This'

Netflix 

IMDb rating: 7.6

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Sofia Bryant 

Created By: Jonathan Entwistle, Christy Hall

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

Sydney Novak is a pretty typical teenage girl. She's dealing with high school, her family, and her budding sexuality. Oh, and she also has mysterious superpowers. I Am Not Okay With This is both a charming, angsty teenage coming-of-age story and a superhero origin story rolled into one. Although the show received positive reviews and praise for its teenaged actors, a second season was cancelled due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

02
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Pose (2018): Best Gender-Nonconforming Ballroom Drama

Billy Porter in 'Pose'

FX

 

IMDb rating: 8.6

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 and gender-nonconforming ballroom culture of the 1980s and '90s, where dancers and models compete for trophies, recognition, and invites into chosen families called Houses. Blanca Rodriguez (MJ Rodriguez) is an HIV-positive trans woman who decides to form her own House, and she quickly finds herself with a new family.

Pose 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.

03
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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: 8.4

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 the character 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.

04
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Ratched (2020): Best Pick For American Horror Story Fans

Sarah Paulson and Alice Englert in 'Ratched.'

Netflix 

IMDb rating: 7.5

Genre: Drama

Starring: Sarah Paulson, Finn Wittrock, Cynthia Nixon

Created By: Ryan Murphy, Evan Romansky

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

This new show from American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy chronicles the origins of asylum nurse Mildred Ratched, the antagonist of the classic novel and film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She arrives in Northern California in 1947 seeking employment at a psychiatric hospital where they're conducting unsettling experiments on the patients. While reviews of the show are a bit polarized, many praised its style and the committed (no pun intended) performances of its actors.

05
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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

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 as the first queer superhero of color playing Pierce's daughter Anissa. The show has received some acclaim during its four seasons for its portrayal of sexuality and race.

06
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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

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.

07
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Hollywood (2020): A Sometimes Corny Love Letter to Tinsel Town

Jim Parsons in 'Hollywood'

Netflix

 

IMDb rating: 7.6

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. But beneath the glamour 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.

08
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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

Genre: Comedy, Drama

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

Created By: Ryan O'Connell

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

Special is the story of a gay man named Ryan with mild cerebral palsy. One day, he decides to "rewrite" his identity and go after the life he really wants. Honest, funny, and self-aware, the show's based on Ryan O'Connell's memoir I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves. O'Connell also stars, writes, and executive produces the Netflix series, which is getting a second season in the near future.

09
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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

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 cliche. But there are a lot of things to like in this Netflix comedy, and one of those things 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.

10
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She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018): Best LGBTQ Teen-Girl Vibe Cartoon

Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power cartoon.

Netflix

IMDb rating: 7.6

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure

Starring: Aimee Carrero, Marcus Scribner, Karen Fukuhara

Created By: Noelle Stevenson

TV Rating: TV-Y7-FV

Number of Seasons: 5

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is one of the most inclusive cartoons on Netflix with a racially diverse cast of magical characters and several prominent gay and lesbian heroes including the main character herself. The series follows Adora as she discovers that she’s actually been working for the villains her entire life and that she may in fact be the latest in a long line of powerful female warriors called She-Ra.

The streamlined animation style, frequent jokes, and simple writing make She-Ra and the Princesses of Power a great show for younger viewers. Older fantasy fans may find it a bit childish at times. Fans of the original She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoon from the 80s should also brace themselves for a radically different take on the franchise that’s really only She-Ra in name with very different character designs and personalities and a shift in focus from Adora being a role model to having a more relatable teenage girl vibe.

11
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13 Reasons Why (2017): Best LGBTQ TV Show to Watch With Parents

Christian Navarro in Netflix's 13 Reasons Why TV series.

Netflix

IMDb rating: 7.7

Genre: Drama, Mystery

Starring: Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro

Created By: Brian Yorkey

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 4

13 Reasons Why is a ground-breaking TV series that aims to explore the many issues that teenagers face in today’s society ranging from suicide, anxiety, and depression to drug addiction, abuse, rape, and homosexuality. It even has a story arc dedicated to parental tracking apps. It succeeds extremely well in its ambitions though only when viewed as a whole instead of its individual seasons as each one features an extremely targeted approach with its themes with the first season focusing on trauma, the second on context and outrage, the third on forgiveness and empathy, and the fourth on perception and support.

One of 13 Reasons Why’s biggest achievements is its many, many gay characters which increase in number exponentially with each passing season and represent a wide range of personality types and backgrounds. Being a teen drama, coming out is naturally covered but so are issues such as gay bashing, same-sex parenting, homophobia, self-hatred, and STDs. 13 Reasons Why has a lot to teach teenage viewers but is even more educational for parents and guardians who may feel like they have no idea what’s going on in their kids’ lives. A fantastic conversation starter. In fact, conversations about the issues covered in this show are recommended.

12
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The Umbrella Academy (2019): Best Gay Superhero Fantasy Adventure Show

The Umbrella Academy TV series on Netflix.

Netflix

IMDb rating: 7.9

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda

Created By: Steve Blackman, Jeremy Slater

TV Rating: TV-14

Number of Seasons: 2

Based on of the comic book of the same name, The Umbrella Academy follows a group of childhood superheroes who are now all grown up, estranged from each other, and must now come together to solve the mystery surrounding the death of the man who brought them all together.

By far one of the highlights of The Umbrella Academy is Klaus, played wonderfully camp by Robert Sheehan, who’s gifted/cursed with the ability to communicate with the dead and is confirmed to be same-sex attracted during a time travel subplot in the first season that’ll make you swoon right before it rips your heart out. While it’s unclear if Klaus is gay, bi, pan, or identifies as something else, a character like this is such a rare find in shows in general, let alone within a superhero series.

13
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Sense8 (2015): Best LGBTQ Celebration of Humanity

Netflix's Sense8 TV series cast.

Netflix

IDMb rating: 8.3

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Starring: Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai

Created By: J. Michael Straczynski, Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 2

Created by the minds behind the The Matrix Trilogy and Babylon 5, Sense8 is an epic Sci-Fi tale about a sub group of humans who have evolved the ability to connect with each other both telepathically and empathically. The cast is as diverse as the locations that the show was filmed in with actors from several continents playing straight, gay, and trans characters of numerous ethnicities and nationalities.

It would be easy to classify Sense8 as being one of the best transgender shows on Netflix with its strong focus on Nomi, played by real-world trans actress, Jamie Clayton, and her lesbian partner but that would arguably do the show a disservice as, at its heart, it’s a celebration of humanity as a whole and how connected we all truly are. Well, that and stunning cinematography, big budget action sequences, thrilling conspiracies, and hilarious character interactions.

14
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Gypsy (2017): Best Real, Complex Bisexual Drama

Naomi Watts in Netflix's Gypsy TV series.

Netflix

IDMb rating: 6.9

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Starring: Naomi Watts, Billy Crudup, Sophie Cookson

Created By: Lisa Rubin

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

There are quite a few gay shows on Netflix but there’s a surprisingly limited amount of quality series that focus on bisexual characters. Gypsy is one of these rare unicorns, boasting an incredible lead in Naomi Watts and a captivating aesthetic that draws you in and keeps you watching right until the finale.

The series follows a therapist who gradually becomes bored with her stable career and marriage to her rather dashing husband and begins exploring a second life with her own apartment and a flirtatious relationship with the ex-girlfriend of one of her patients. Tensions rise as those close to her begin to suspect that she’s keeping secrets and paranoia starts to set in as characters’ loyalties are brought into question. Best of all, the bisexual nature of Watt’s lead is shown as something real and complex and isn’t fetishized as is often the case in similar shows.

15
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Dear White People (2017): Best Black Gay Comedy-Drama

Netflix's Dear White People TV show.

Netflix

IDMb rating: 6.3

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Logan Browning, Brandon P Bell, DeRon Horton

Created By:Justin Simien

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 4

Dear White People is a TV series that isn’t what it appears to be at all. On the surface, the show looks like a preachy series that’s ready to tell white people exactly what they’re doing wrong but it’s actually a comedy-drama about a group of Black university students who have to deal with a series of events set off by an on-campus radio show called, Dear White People.

Dear White People, the Netflix show (not the radio show within the show), impressively explores modern racial issues from a variety of perspectives and impressively also dedicates a significant amount of screen time exploring what it’s like to be a gay and Black as well, making it one of the best, and one of the few, Black gay TV shows on Netflix worth checking out. The show also dips its toes into some Black lesbian subplots in later seasons with a hilariously flippant coming out conversation that will have you laughing out loud.

16
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Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995): Best Shippiest Same-Sex Couple in Anime

Shinji and Kaworu from Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series on Netflix.

©GAINAX

IDMb rating: 8.5

Genre: Animation, Action, Drama

Starring: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Kotono Mitsuishi

Created By: Hideaki Anno

TV Rating: TV-14

Number of Seasons: 1

While the popular streaming service has been investing a lot of money into producing and acquiring Japanese animated films and TV series in recent years, unfortunately there’s still not much in the way of gay anime on Netflix which is rather disappointing.

Neon Genesis Evangelion consists of a single 26-episode anime season followed by two films, Death & Rebirth and The End of Evangelion, which recap the series and then retell the ambiguous finale from an alternate perspective that shows exactly what happened. Both anime films are also available on Netflix.

One of the best options right now would be the classic Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series which was added to Netflix in 2019 and features one of the shippiest same-sex couples in anime fandom, Shinji and Kaworu, who attracted a lot of LGBTQ fans to the franchise back in the late 90s and early 2000s. Marketed as a giant robot action series, Neon Genesis Evangelion evolves into so much more at around the halfway point when it begins exploring the nature of the human soul, individualism, self-worth, and identity. The original Japanese audio option with subtitles is recommended but the new English dub made for the Netflix release isn’t that bad either. Of course, if you can track down the old DVDs or VHS tapes from the 90s, you should watch that English version as it’s iconic.

17
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Feel Good (2020): Best Social Commentary in a Lesbian Romantic Sitcom

Netflix's Feel Good TV series.

Netflix

IDMb rating: 7.5

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring: Mae Martin, Charlotte Ritchie, Sophie Thompson

Created By: Ally Pankiw, Joe Hampson, Mae Martin

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 1

Feel Good is a British series that follows the beginnings of a romantic relationship between a female Canadian stand-up comedian and an English woman. This TV show can be quite heavy at times with its social commentary and dealing of issues such as drug addiction but it balances the darkness well with a heavy dose of comedy and a romance that’s both believable and a joy to watch.

Feel Good is one of the best lesbian TV shows on Netflix and it’s also one of the easiest to watch with only six episodes in its first season, each one only running for around 25 minutes.