When we watch shows, we gravitate toward characters with whom we identify the most. Often, they have a similar background, personality or have faced similar struggles. The point is that we naturally seek representation because it allows us to connect with the story.
So, what’s it like when there are no characters to represent you? For years, this was the case for the LGBTQ community. Many sitcoms, dramas, and other genres of media entertainment did not cast an LGBTQ individual, or if they did, their persona or character arc might not have been the most accurate or positive representation.
Fortunately, the tide is turning. Through ongoing efforts of the LGBTQ community, their allies, and supporting organizations such as our non-profit partner, GLAAD, times are changing.
As we celebrate PRIDE month and our partnership with GLAAD, we would like to share five television shows that have shed a positive light on the LGBTQ community and helped to accelerate acceptance. Also, be warned — they are all highly addictive, so once you start any of these, you may have difficulty stopping.
Before we dive into this list, we’d like to talk about the vital role GLAAD has played in shaping the narrative in the entertainment industry. Since 1985, this organization has worked through entertainment, news, and digital media to share stories from the LGBTQ community that accelerate acceptance. For entertainment media, GLAAD works with studios, producers, and writers to bring LGBTQ characters and plotlines to help ensure accurate and diverse representations of the community to viewers.
As you read on, we encourage you to learn more about GLAAD, its mission, and how you can support this amazing non-profit. Also, after this list, we’ll share how Porte members can choose to support GLAAD at no cost to them!
Now, without further ado, let’s talk about some shows you need to binge this Pride month!
5 TV Shows & Series to Binge this Pride Month
Besides points for originality and subtle wittiness consistent across all six seasons, Schitt’s Creek masterfully paints a picture for its audiences. The comedy series focuses on a formerly wealthy family of four struggling to find their place in a small-town community after the father, Johnny Rose, played by Eugene Levy, suddenly finds himself broke and with all but one of his assets repossessed— Schitt’s Creek, a town that Johnny bought as a birthday gift for his son, David, as a joke because of the town’s name.
With no assets, the family is forced to abandon their pampered life to move into a motel on its last leg in this small town, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and rebuild their life. The show’s premise is comical in and of itself, but the story is brought to life through its endearing characters, each equipped with their own set of quirks. In the end, regardless of their differences, there is mutual respect and appreciation amongst everyone in the small-town community of Schitt’s Creek.
David, Johnny’s son, is a pansexual character and one of the show’s protagonists. He is played by Dan Levy, an Emmy ® winning showrunner, writer, director, producer, and actor. Levy’s portrayal of David is brilliant. He’s funny, sarcastic, and increasingly more personable as the show progresses. But beyond this character’s charming qualities, Levy’s approach to expressing David’s sexuality on screen has served as a model for telling LGBTQ stories with normalcy, positivity, and respect.
In September 2019, Levy received the esteemed Davidson/Valentini Award at the GLAAD Gala San Francisco. Levy, who is a gay man, delivered a powerful speech upon receiving his award, stating:
“A place [Schitt’s Creek] where everybody fits in. Where love is celebrated, and people’s differences are a reason to start a conversation, not end one. It’s a place where my character David, a pansexual man with really intense pants and sweaters, can fall in love with his now fiancé Patrick, a gay man, without fear of consequence. It’s a place where acceptance incubates joy and creates a clarity that allows people to see themselves and each other more deeply.”
All six seasons of this nine-time Emmy® winning show are available for binging across multiple streaming platforms!
If you’ve never seen Modern Family, you’re in for a treat. For 11 seasons, this highly successful comedy series broke away from the traditional norms found in a family sitcom, opting for a more modernized depiction (as the title suggests). Modern Family focuses on three different but related families, each facing their own unique trials and tribulations. One of these families includes Mitchell and Cam, a gay couple played respectively by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, an openly gay actor, and Eric Stonestreet, an ally of the LGBTQ community. Throughout the series, viewers witness the two raise their daughter, Lily, and catch a glimpse into the struggles and joys of raising a child as a gay couple.
While this may seem quite serious, make no mistake — this is a comedy series, and Ferguson and Stonestreet are hilarious. The duo’s chemistry shined throughout the series, contributing to the show’s 22 Emmys and 82 nominations. For the show’s positive representation of the LGBTQ community, GLAAD awarded Modern Family twice for Outstanding Comedy Series (2011 and 2012). It has also been nominated ten times, making it the most nominated scripted TV series in GLAAD Media Award History, tied with Will & Grace and *Grey’s Anatomy. *
Modern Family is available to watch on Hulu, Prime Video, Vudu, and Google Play!
When the pilot for Euphoria came out in 2019, it was abundantly clear that this was a show not afraid to push the envelope. And since grabbing the nation’s attention, it has managed to keep it, becoming HBO’s second most-watched show, behind only Game of Thrones. The polarizing yet brutally transparent (even if it hurts to watch) series aims to address very real issues facing Gen Z today, including drug abuse, peer pressure, and sexuality. These issues are brought to light through powerful performances from Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Jacob Elordi, Sydney Sweeney, and the entire cast.
Among the list of stars is Hunter Schafer, a transgender woman portraying the transgender character Jules Vaughn, a main character in the series. Vaughn’s transition is discussed in the show, but it isn’t a focus. The show was nominated by GLAAD for Positive Queer Representation in 2020.
The complete first and second seasons of Euphoria are available to stream on HBO Max!
Important note: Euphoria is rated TV-MA, meaning that the series is designed for mature audiences only. Viewer discretion is advised.
This list would not be complete without Queer Eye. The more recent Netflix original series, which premiered in 2018, is a reboot of the highly successful Bravo series from 2003 to 2007. Since 2018, the show has received 19 Emmys and has been nominated 49 times!
Queer Eye has five hosts, each an expert in a different lifestyle category. The hosts include:
- Jonathan Van Ness – grooming expert
- Antoni Porowski – food and wine expert
- Karamo Brown – culture expert
- Tan France — fashion expert
- Bobby Berk – interior design expert
Together, they make up the Fab Five, committed to transforming “heroes” on the show through their multi-pronged approach. It’s simultaneously funny, addictive, and inspiring without trying too hard. Everyone on the show is connected, and relationships feel authentic. This is largely due to the brilliance of the hosts. They are personable and funny, each unique in their own way. Still, all five possess the natural ability to break down walls as they forge meaningful connections with the show’s heroes, many of whom have different beliefs and come from diverse backgrounds. The show is full of powerful moments of social commentary that don’t feel forced.
In 2019, Queer Eye took home GLAAD’s award for Outstanding Reality Program at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. In a 2019 article following the awards ceremony, GLAAD summarized the influence of the show best — “Queer Eye’s Fab Five have shown the world that we are all a lot more similar than we are different. Overall, Queer Eye continues to push the conversation into areas that others won’t, highlighting the need for acceptance, understanding, and positive cultural change in today’s society.”
There are currently seven official seasons of Queer Eye on Netflix for you to watch. Six of those seasons belong to the original series that started in 2018, and one season belongs to the spin-off series Queer Eye: We’re In Japan!
4400 is a reboot of the 2004 television series The 4400. This sci-fi reboot follows the same premise as the original. Over the past century, 4,400 individuals all from marginalized groups vanished without a trace, and then returned in an instant in the present day. They have no memory of what happened, why they vanished, and they haven’t aged a day. Also, like the original, each of those who have returned have unique powers which of course adds another layer to the show’s ever-growing plot.
While 4400 may be based on the same premise as its original, this modern ‘reimagining’ as co-showrunners Ariana Jackson and Sunil Nayar would describe it, has its own twist. This time it is told from a Black perspective, drawing attention to what Jackson describes as “our country’s inability to reckon with its history of white supremacy.” Along with enlightening audiences about racial discrimination, 4400 also includes numerous out characters, including Keisha Taylor (queer actress Irene Roach), Andre Davis (trans actor TL Thompson), Soraya Khoury (queer actress Kausar Mohammed), Jessica Tanner (trans and non-binary actor Wilder Yari), Noah Harris (trans and non-binary actor Theo Germaine), and Mariah Kaminski (Sophia Echendu).
Season one is available for streaming on The CW, Prime Video, and VUDU!
How to Support GLAAD Through Our #DoorToChange
When you open an account with Porte1, you can help further the mission of GLAAD through our #DoorToChange.2
Through our #DoortoChange charitable giving program, your everyday purchases add up to donations to the charity you select in the app.3 All you have to do is follow these steps to get started:
- Open your Porte app and choose “Charity” on the dashboard.
- Select GLAAD or any of the other charities.
- Keep spending as usual. Donations are made based on how much you spend, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.
Open a Porte account1 and make an impact through our #DoorToChange!2