Written by: Cameron Deslaurier
Pride month is over, but sharing LGBTQIA+ positive media is important all year long. Here’s a list of seven of my favorite shows with queer characters who aren’t walking stereotypes, don’t get fridged, and neither fall into tokenism nor the all too often single narrative of tragedy.
Good Omens – Prime Video
Occult rom-com, anyone? Based on the book by the same name by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens is the love story of a not-so-bad demon named Crowley and a not-so-good angel named Aziraphale. Per Gaiman’s tweets, Aziraphale and Crowley aren’t gay since ethereal and occult beings don’t have sexes. But Gaiman has been very firm on the point that “Whatever Crowley and Aziraphale are, it’s a love story,” and has also said that he “…wouldn’t exclude the ideas that they are ace, or aromantic, or trans.” No matter how you read Good Omens, it’s impossible to walk away without knowing that these beings are anything but head over heels in love. They don’t need to define what they’ve got for anyone, and that’s something we could all use. So, jump into the Bentley, because these two have lost the antichrist, and it’s time to avert the apocalypse!
The Owl House – Disney+
With witches and wild magic galore, Dana Terrace’s animated series The Owl House follows the misadventures of headstrong human Luz Noceda into the magical, fantastical, and terrifying realm of the Boiling Isles. The show features warm found family vibes, three cannon queer couples (two of which play major parts in the story), and a nonbinary bard! Raine Whispers is voice-acted by the talented, nonbinary latine voice artist Avi Roque, and is also the explicitly first nonbinary character to be featured on Disney+!
Our Flag Means Death – HBO Max
Bumbling aristocrat Stede Bonnet leaves his wife and family to become a pirate during a midlife crisis. Things go poorly. So poorly, that he catches the eye of the sea’s most feared leather-clad buccaneer: Blackbeard, played by Taika Waititi. The pair start off by wishing that they could trade lives, and end up realizing that the only life they want is one that they can share. I bought HBO Max specifically to watch Our Flag Means Death, and it brought me to tears by re-defining how much queer joy I thought was possible for a show to possess. The crew members of the Revenge aren’t just background either; nonbinary badass Jim Jimenez and the rest of unlikely family of cutthroat pirates that make up the crew of the Revenge are just as much of a delight to watch as Stede and Blackbeard.
Heartstopper – Netflix
Adapted from the much-loved graphic novel written and illustrated by Alice Oseman, Heartstopper is a teen drama following Charlie, a gay boy whose search for love in an un-affirming school has left him questioning his self-worth. Then he meets Nick Nelson, a sweet rugby star, dog lover, and Star Wars nerd. Uplifting, heartfelt, and affirming, Heartstopper is full of vivid, beautiful characters, friendships, and first loves. Notably, one of Charlie’s closest friends, Elle, is played by trans actress Yasmin Finney—who’s recently been selected to join the cast of Dr. Who!
Content Advisement: Homophobia, transphobia
The Legend of Vox Machina – Prime Video
Who’s in the mood for dragons, demons, and an edgy gunslinger? Adapted from the first Critical Role actual play D&D campaign, Season 1 of The Legend of Vox Machina was certified 100% fresh by Rotten Tomatoes. The series follows the adventures of Vox Machina: a band of mercenaries who will save the world… one day. Right now, they can’t afford ale. While the show gets plenty dark and bloody, sexuality and gender identity are never causes for targeting or hate in the world of Exandria.
Critical Role: Campaign Three: Bells Hells – Twitch and YouTube
Bells Hells is Critical Role’s third D&D actual play campaign, following the in-progress adventures of the titular Bells Hells across the Exandrian continent of Marquet. The motley crew hosts two members that use multiple pronouns, which the cast faithfully respect and alternate between. While sexuality hasn’t come up too much yet, we know that Orym is gay and Fearne is attracted to multiple genders. Critical Role is a refreshingly safe space, with Game Master Matthew Mercer naturally integrating an array of LGBTQIA+ characters into the world and correcting the cast about pronouns gently but firmly as needed.
Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
The combined adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows series’, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone tells the colliding stories of a girl with the power to summon light in a world beseeched by living shadows and a band of thieves from the rotten city of Ketterdam. Much like Exandria, the Grishaverse gets quite dark at times, but never hateful towards its queer and (much later) trans protagonists. While queer storylines don’t play a major role in Season 1, Season 2 is set to introduce Wylan Van Eck: merchling turned demolitions expert, and the apple of sharpshooter Jesper Fahey’s eye. We’ll also be getting our first look at Tamar Kir-Bataar: axe-wielding warrior, Heartrender, and future love interest of Nadia Zhabin.