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A TV Streaming Guide To Keep Pride Alive All Year

The bad news: Pride month is over. The good news: some of the best TV is gay all year long!
Pride TV Shows Guide
By  · Published on June 30th, 2021

Do you ever wish Pride month could last forever? Sure, the month in which corporations change their icons to rainbows can be personally and politically fraught, but for members of the LGBT+ community, it’s also a time for celebration, community bonding, and hopefully, feeling safe and supported in one’s own skin.

If you, like me, want to keep the gay times rolling, one thing you can do is focus on watching diverse stories throughout the year. The landscape of queer representation on the small screen is in a constant state of flux, but right now, we might in a bit of a queer Rennaissance. GLAAD’s most recent report shows that 2020 saw a surprising downturn in the number of queer characters seen on TV, but since then, anecdotal evidence shows that both the quality and variety of queer experiences being reflected on screen is at an all-time high. New shows premiere constantly, many of them highlighting points of view that, while normal to many of us, have never been shown on screen before.

There’s still plenty of room for improvement; with One Day At A Time, Vida, and Pose all now off the air, there is a dearth of queer Latinx main characters out there, not to mention Latinx representation in general. Meanwhile, with 2020 seeing the end of two inherently queer children’s shows, Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, it’s tough to know whether all-ages entertainment will continue to make strides in an area of diversity that often generates push-back. One thing is for sure: though television sees periods of trends, queer and trans identities themselves aren’t trends, and as the medium evolves to better reflect the myriad human beings who watch it, it should only get more diverse.

The following 20 shows all either aired new episodes this year or are categorized as ongoing. They’re all great, and they’re all gay.

Better Things

Pride TV Shows: Better Things

Motherhood-centric comedy Better Things handles sexuality and gender in a uniquely organic way, as we see the evolution of Frankie (Hannah Alligood) through the eyes of mother Sam (Pamela Adlon). In typical mom fashion, Sam is always a few steps behind when it comes to keeping up with her child, so the growing pains we witness are sometimes ambiguous–in the fourth season, it’s still unclear how Frankie identifies. Most importantly, Sam is always supportive, and Better Things is one of the most creative and affirming portraits of maternal love out there.

Watch it on: FX and Hulu


Betty

Betty

Crystal Moselle’s series about girl skaters in New York City is inherently queer, and its casualness on the topic is a breath of fresh air. The cast is full of sapphic energy in the form of a delightful bunch of characters. There’s ladies’ woman Kirt (Nina Moran), a goofy stoner who charms the pants off of whoever she sets her sights on, but there’s also shy Honeybear (Moonbear), who finds her bliss while skating in pasties or dancing alone. Finally, there’s cool love interest Ash (Katerina Tannenbaum), who’s equally enamored with Honeybear and with a hot bartender.

Watch it on: HBO and HBO Max


Derry Girls

Derry Girls

Netflix’s teen comedy is set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, but it’s also one of the funniest series in recent memory. Late in the first season, the central gang of tight-knit friends finds out there’s a lesbian at their Catholic school, and soon they discover the “wee lesbian” is closer than they think. Derry Girls is a fantastic series that balances personal rites of passage with major moments in national history. Its plot about sexuality stands apart because the lesbian character isn’t defined by her dating experience or lack thereof; she simply says she’s gay, and her friends believe her.

Watch it on: Netflix


Dickinson

Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld in this series) lived a much more vibrant life than the one you likely read about in English class, and a huge part of it was her passionate relationship with her best friend, Sue (Ella Hunt). Dickinson is a multifaceted series, and Emily’s love for Sue is only one part of it, but it’s a powerful and intoxicating one. Social constraints of the era keep Sue and Emily from complete happiness, but the series is careful to carve out moments of private bliss between the two heart-bound lovers.

Watch it on: Apple TV+


Euphoria

Euphoria

In 2019, Euphoria‘s neon-soaked sadness took over the airwaves and the minds of obsessed viewers. While season two is still in production, the series has already deepened its strongest queer relationship–between sweet, strong trans girl Jules (Hunter Schafer) and depressed addict Rue (Zendaya). Portrayals of LGBT+ issues aren’t always neatly done in a series that sometimes goes for shock over substance, and it remains to be seen whether violent jock Nate (Jacob Elordi) will evolve beyond his closeted current status. In the meantime, we’re along for the wild ride.

Watch it on: HBO and HBO Max


Everything’s Gonna Be Okay

Everything S Gonna Be Okay

“I always get so gay when I’m talking to heterosexual people. I do it on purpose ’cause they need it so much!” This pearl of wisdom from Nicholas (Josh Thomas), who finds himself the guardian of his two half-sisters early in this series, is one of the countless great bits from a fully realized, utterly hilarious gay character. Everything’s Gonna Be Okay does a great job exploring a family structure in which straight is not the default, with autistic eldest sister Matilda (Kayla Cromer) also meticulously refining her sexual orientation as the series progresses.

Watch it on: Freeform and Hulu


Feel Good

Feel Good

Featuring a U-Haul relationship for the ages, Mae Martin’s Feel Good is also a realistically all-over-the-place exploration of addiction, PTSD, and gender identity. Martin’s character, also named Mae, finds themselves in a whirlwind romance with a woman named George (Charlotte Ritchie), one that’s often thwarted by issues that are frequently bubbling below the surface and often related to Mae’s addiction. There’s an authenticity here that doesn’t make for the cleanest storytelling but does make for a type of representation that’s rarely seen on screen. Most of us have met a Mae or a George if we aren’t one ourselves.

Watch it on: Netflix


Gentleman Jack

Gentleman Jack

This period drama became beloved among queer fans after its 2019 debut, and though it feels as if its COVID-aided hiatus has been endless, the series’ second season has thankfully resumed production. Gentleman Jack chronicles the budding romance between
Anne Lister (Suranne Jones), a gender-norms-flouting landowner who in real life was dubbed “the first modern lesbian,” and her love, heiress Anne Walker (Sophie Rundle). In classic BBC tradition, the 1800s-set series is a gentle romance molded around great performances. Anne Lister’s story is a vital piece of queer history, affirming proof that great sapphic love has been around for centuries.

Watch it on: HBO and HBO Max


Hacks

Hacks

She would probably hate me for saying this, but the younger half of Hacks‘ caustic comedy duo, Ava (Hannah Einbinder), is peak bisexual disaster. Ava gives her new boss, legendary comedian Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) an NSFW rundown of her sexuality early on in their relationship, and just a few episodes later, Deborah catches her snapping a nude to send to her ex-girlfriend. Hacks isn’t about sexuality, but about loneliness, comedy, and the thorniness of female persona-building. Still, the on-screen presence of a very relatable queer young adult is icing on the cake that is this great series.

Watch it on: HBO Max


Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn

While the rest of the superhero-industrial complex struggles to catch up with even the most basic queer representation, DC’s very adult Harley Quinn series has been doing the damn thing all along. You may know the series from recent headlines about a sex scene that higher-ups reportedly axed, but the show has been consistently cheeky in its portrayals of the Gotham City bunch from the beginning. In the most recent season finale, Harley (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) confess their feelings for one another, finally making one of the couples with the most crackling chemistry in comic book history canon on screen.

Watch it on: HBO Max


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Valerie Ettenhofer is a California-based freelance writer, Scooby-Doo fan, and nap 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. @aandeandval (She/her)