LGBTQuality content on Netflix
LGBT content in the entertainment world is (slowly) rising to the forefront thanks to trailblazing tv shows like Queer as Folk and Glee. But what is worth watching on Netflix?
Orange is the New Black
This Netflix dramedy centres on the residents of Litchfield Prison, who are a diverse cast of characters ranging from Latina women, a Russian matriarch, Neo-Nazis, and a host of LGBTQ characters. While flawed in terms of its representation of police brutality and bi-erasure, the show is a breakthrough for many LGBT stars like Laverne Cox and Samira Wiley (who later married the show's producer Lauren Morelli). The importance of race is just as paramount as the importance of sexuality as Cox's character Sophia is a WOC who experiences the worst of transphobia and racism, yet rises above it with integrity. Another accomplishment the show has under its belt is having a non-binary actor in the cast. Asia Kate Dillon, while playing a female Neo-Nazi, is gender non-conforming. In their other show Billions, they play the first non-binary character on television.
Standout moment: Sophia teaching the cis-women about their own anatomy.
Master of None
"My LGBTQIA family. I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different, those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape, go out there and conquer the world, because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it. And for everybody out there that showed us so much love. Thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a little queer Black girl from the South side of Chicago. We appreciate it more than you could ever know." - @lenawaithe, the first black woman to win an Emmy for writing in a comedy series.
One of Netflix's more experimental shows, Master of None pushes the boundaries of how artistic comedy can be, with one episode being in silence and another jumping from one random character in New York to another. Despite the problematic allegations against the star of the show Aziz Ansari, the shows breakthrough star Lena Waithe, who plays the courageous lesbian Denise, shines. Waithe not only stars in the show but wrote the Emmy award-winning episode "Thanksgiving", which depicted her character's sexuality progressing through the years. This made Waithe the first ever black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing.
Standout moment: Denise coming out to her mother
RuPaul's Drag Race
Iconic drag queen RuPaul has taken the world by storm creating his take on America's Next Top Model but making it 400% gayer. This iconic show has springboarded many drag queens' careers into the mainstream and creating a spin-off shows, All-Stars, just so viewers could see their favourite drag queens competing again. While the show may be cliched and camp, it still has heartfelt moments where they reveal the lengths to which the queens had to fight to be themselves. Season 9 even saw the first out trans woman, Peppermint, competing in the competition; making her way to the final.
Standout moment: Miss Vanjie.... Miss Vaaaaaaanjie... Miss... Vanjie.
Grace and Frankie
An underrated gem of a show. Grace and Frankie is about two women who find out in their later years that both of their husbands have been having an affair with each other for decades. Both women try to support each other through this turbulent time, while the husbands plan their new life with each other being an openly gay couple. A funny and heartfelt series that tells the story of a sub-group of the gay community that usually is underrepresented in media: the older generation. For the generation that fought for LGBT rights, they are woefully overlooked.
Standout moment: Robert and Sol arguing about how much gayer they are than the other in the hospital.
Do you have emotions? A lot of them? Then Queer Eye is the show that will make you feel all of them at once; reducing you to a blubbering mess. But don't let that put you off. The Fab 5 are on a mission to transform the lives of people who need that extra push to improve their look and life. They cover grooming (Jonathan), fashion (Tan), furniture (Bobby), positive thinking (Karamo), and food (Antoni). Every one of them brings something different to the table (which Bobby provides for them). They travel out of their comfort zone by helping people that may not be accepting of them. This includes a Trump supporter, a church deacon, and small-town folk that have not met gay people before.
Standout moment: The entirety of S1 Ep4 "To Gay or Not Too Gay"
One of the funniest programmes still running (thankfully), Brooklyn Nine-Nine is set in a police precinct in New York, with the Captain being a gay POC. The show strikes a perfect balance of his character not being a stereotype, but still a pioneering social change advocate. The latest season even saw a breakthrough moment in television; the tough, reclusive officer Rosa came out as bisexual. This was due to the actress Stephanie Beatriz (bisexual herself) urging the showrunners to have a bisexual character. In a climate where the mere word "bisexual" is not mentioned, let alone represented, this moment was indeed special.
Standout moment: Rosa playing Pictionary with her parents.
The tragically short-lived show Sense8 has something for everyone; stunning visuals, and diverse cast of different races, nationalities and sexualities. Even a newly discovered species of human that can connect to each other in clusters of eight. Many of the characters display queer qualities, like Lito being physically affectionate towards his boyfriend Hernando, and his friend Daniela. However, the show's standout characters are Nomi and her girlfriend Amanita. Nomi is a transgender woman played by the transgender actress Jaimie Clayton. Her story is inspirational and full of love, all the while exploring the dark side of transphobia in her life. The representation does not stop in front of the camera; the show was created by the Wachowski sister, both of whom are transgender.