Celebrate Pride Month with Our 5 Favorite LGBTQ+ Television Series
Queer representation has never been more nuanced or diverse.
June 1st marks the arrival of Pride Month, a time to celebrate and affirm the LGBTQ+ community. Pride 2019 comes at an especially poignant time, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, where members of the queer community fought back against police harassment at the Stonewall Inn in the neighborhood of Greenwich Village in New York City.
But while massive strides have been made for LGBTQ+ rights since then, we’ve seen a disturbing rollback of protections for the queer community, most specifically the Trump administrations heinous attacks on trans rights.
We talk a lot about the importance of representation on this site, and with good reason. Compassionate and thoughtful representation of marginalized groups serve two important purposes: it allows those groups to see themselves portrayed and celebrated on screen. It also serves to educate and de-stigmatize preconceived prejudices for less tolerant viewers.
GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said, “With anti-LGBTQ policies being debated here and abroad, the stories and characters on television are more critical than ever before to build understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ people.”
To celebrate Pride Month, we’re shining a light on five of our favorite queer series. Some are new, some are returning, but all explore intersectionality and sexuality in bold new ways.
HBO and BBC One’s historical drama follows the life and loves of Anne Lister, one of England’s first and most prominently out lesbians. A landowner and gentlewoman, Lister lived openly as herself and refused to adhere to the expected female conventions of 1832. The series, created by Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley), is based on Lister’s collected diaries, which feature over 4 million words written in code that detail her various love affairs and adventures.
The series stars Suranne Jones as Lister, following Lister’s return to Halifax, where she manages tenants on her land, explores the growing coal industry, and woos wealthy neighbor Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle). The series is a smart and quick-witted, easily moving between cheeky comedy and heartfelt emotional drama.
FX’s Pose took television by storm last year, with the largest transgender cast ever assembled on a single series. The show’s exploration of ballroom culture of the late 1980s features a star-making performance by Mj Rodriguez as the mother of House of Evangelista, where she provides a loving home for her adopted children Angel (Indya Moore) and Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain), while contending with the house mother she left behind, Elektra Abundance (Dominique Jackson).
Pose has style but its real beauty lies in its heart and compassion for its subjects. The series deftly explores the AIDS epidemic and the importance of finding your tribe, as well as the yuppi-fication of the 1980s. The first season is available now on Netflix, with the second season premiering on FX on June 11th. If you haven’t been watching one of the best shows of 2018, there’s no better time to start.
Starz’s Vida follows the relationship between the Hernandez sisters as they return to East L.A. for their mother’s funeral and discover that their mother was secretly married to another woman. This news shocks Emma (Mishel Prada), a Type-A headstrong woman who is also a lesbian, and her free-spirited but flighty younger sister Lyn (Melissa Barrera).
The series, created by Tanya Saracho, delivers not only a passionate queer story, but an intimate look at a Latinx family that is all too rare on television. Season two explores the sister’s attempts to re-open their mother’s bar, as they clash with each other and their ever-chaning neighorhood. The series just got renewed for a third season, and the first two seasons are now available on Starz.
Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City
Based on the novels of Armistead Maupin, this Netflix limited series is a long-awaited sequel to the 1993 PBS miniseries which follows the eccentric, mostly queer residents of San Francisco’s 28 Barberry Lane. Olympia Dukakis, Laura Linney, and other reprise their roles nearly two decades later, where they are joined by Ellen Page, Jen Richards, and more. Orange Is The New Black’s Lauren Morelli is the showrunner, and Maupin is an executive producer on the project. The series premieres on Netflix on June 7th.
Netflix’s Special is based on series creator and star Ryan O’Connell’s memoir, I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves. The series follows a gay man with cerebral palsy as he embarks on living a fuller life. The series is the first of its kind to focus on a disabled queer character, and doesn’t shy away from plot points about sex and dating. With a strong supporting cast and an offbeat comedic sensibility, Special forges a bold new path for queer and disabled representation.
What queer shows are you watching right now? Do you have any Pride Month must-sees?
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