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The 10 best LGBTQ TV shows of 2023

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It has to be said that 2023 has been a good year for LGBTQ television. Between gripping dramas, tickling comedies, and everything else in between we’ve been spoilt for choice when it comes to TV.

It does, however, mean the Attitude team had quite the task of whittling down a top 10 LGBTQ shows.

From Fellow Travelers, which saw a return to the days of prestige television, to the delight of a series like Somebody Somewhere, there really is something for everyone in this diverse array of LGBTQ TV shows.

Keep reading for a countdown of our favourite TV shows that 2023 had to offer.

10 – Big Brother UK

In its heyday Big Brother UK (and its Celebrity version) was rarely short of drama and LGBTQ representation, perhaps more so than a lot of other reality TV at the time. So it seemed fitting that we got a healthy dose of queerness when the series returned to our screen earlier this year.

Between queer love triangles and contestants like Hallie who bravely came out as trans to her housemates and on national TV, Big Brother UK gave the community some valuable LGBTQ representation on a tremendous platform at a time when our rights are being publicly debated and contested the world over.

Memorable moment: After neglecting to bring up her transness as she entered the Big Brother house, it wasn’t long before Hallie came out to everyone telling them all, “I just thought I’d make that loud and clear.” It was a powerful statement to make on national TV at a crucial time for the community as a whole.

9 – Juice

Taking the number 9 spot on this list is Juice, the zany comedy from the mind of actor-comedian Mawaan Rizwan. Based on Rizwan’s Edinburgh Fringe shows, here we see Rizwan play Jamma, a queer millennial whose imagination is off the charts. Ejaculations happen with a boom of confetti, the walls of a dressing room close in when his partner, Guy (Russell Tovey) tells Jamma he loves him, and Jamma is forever over dramatising moments in his head, often with himself centre stage. We totally get it!

As well as its surreal comedy, Juice also brings queer South Asian representation to the screen, which we still don’t see much of, even in 2023. We love how Rizwan captures the internal monologue many of us walk around with and for that and more, we’re hoping for a second series.

Memorable moment: During a conversation in bed with Guy Jamma seeks an escape and just then a world opens up beneath the bed allowing him to crawl away. Who hasn’t been there before?

8 – Yellowjackets

This modern-day Lord of the Flies continued to have us on the edge of our seats regularly for season two. Essentially with two casts at different points on a timeline, one in the modern day and the other in the mid-90s, we still don’t fully understand what happened to the Yellowjackets high school girls football team after their plane crashed in the wilderness and what the survivors are going through 25 years down the line.

From the lesbian relationship of teenage Vanessa and Taissa to the girl’s male coach coming out, Yellowjackets is full of dramatic relationships, as well as, camp fun to break up the series’ more horrific moments. It also has a host of gay icons actresses in Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, and the “homosexual agenda-pushing” Melanie Lynskey.

Memorable moment: After learning the Yellowjackets football coach Ben Scott was gay in season 1, this season offers us flashbacks of Ben with his boyfriend and what life was like for some gay men in the 1990s – closeted for poor Ben.

7 – Culprits

Misfits actor Nathan Stewart-Jarrett leads the Disney+ series as Joe Petrus, who has tried to move on from a life of crime to become a family man. However, his past catches up with him and endangers his new life with his fiancé and step-kids. Joe also happens to be queer and in the present day has a husband and children.

As Stewart-Jarrett commented recently in regard to the representation in Culprits: “We can’t just have another one of those in 10 years time. We’ve got to build on it now so it’s normalised.” The show also featured the iconic Suzy Eddie Izzard. Action-packed as well, this a show we’d recommend giving a go.

Memorable moment: Joe comes home one day after picking up his kids from school. First, let’s just enjoy the dad getting to pick the kids up, something which seems to be commented on by the school mums too. As he gets home we meet Jules (Kevin Vidal) and see a young, happy LGBTQ family. Or so we think…

6 – Somebody Somewhere

Coming in at number 6 is Somebody Somewhere. Bridget Everett stars (and co-created the whole thing) in this series as Sam, who in the first season returned to her hometown of Manhattan, Kansas to care for her dying sister. Season two carries on in much the same vein as the first following the queer Sam as well as her gay best friend, Joel (Jeff Hiller), and their choice of outsiders.

Queerness feels baked into this series about middle-aged people, a group in which queer stories are also still lacking in number. The show has also been celebrated for its portrayal of very ordinary people living very ordinary lives, in sharp contrast to shows like Succession or House of the Dragon, which often feel very grand and outright fantastical.

Memorable moment: As Joel explains his childhood dream wedding which included flying Laura Branigan in to sing her iconic song ‘Gloria’ as he walks down the aisle, he says he now has Sam with him to sing instead. “Oh Joel, You can’t touch Branigan. No Barbra. no Judy, no Branigan,” Sam advises. Of course, the pair do end up singing ‘Gloria’ in the car because who can resist it when it comes up!

5 – I Kissed A Boy

The UK’s first gay-dating reality series, I Kissed A Boy broke important ground this year. Gay men and gay culture were shown on a large platform for all to see and people ate it up. The cast of boys showed the love and compassion there is in the community as well as the fire and passion. We still haven’t forgotten THAT shower scene.

Important topics such as internalised and external homophobia, HIV, body image, and more were all discussed openly and candidly by the boys, doing a service by relaying these messages to a large audience. Also, Dannii Minogue hosting? Yes, please!

Memorable moment: THAT shower scene.

4 – Sex Education

The last season of the Netflix series could possibly have been its queerest yet. As well as returning characters like Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and Adam (Connor Swindells) season four introduced us to more LGBTQ characters such as Ramon (Felix Mufti) and Abbi (Anthony Lexa), a queer power couple at Cavendish Sixth Form, as well as the asexual O (Thaddea Graham).

We’ll miss the old gang but we’ll never forget the impact this show has had in providing such high levels of LGBTQ representation.

Memorable moment: Cal (Dua Saleh) goes on a journey to discover their transness throughout the series. At one point they stop to ask Roman about his trans journey which included top surgery and whose surgery scars are made visible and directly addressed.

3 – Heartstopper

The second season of the hit Netflix adaptation of Alice Oseman’s graphic novel was every bit as heartwarming and lovely as the first. We see Nick and Charlie (Kit Connor and Joe Locke) begin to explore their new relationship, eventually going public to a blissful chorus of support and love from their friends. It’s not without challenges though be it homophobic older brothers or mental health. There are also challenges in love for Elle and Tao (Yasmin Finney and Will Gao) as well as Darcy and Tara (Kizzy Edgell and Corinna Brown).

Season two builds on the first by adding in asexual representation in the form of Isaac (Tobie Donovan), a plotline teased from the very beginning of season one. Once again Heartstopper brings us positive LGBTQ stories and characters in a perhaps rose-tinted look at the world we actually live in, but in doing so gives us something to aspire toward.

Memorable moment: Netflix’s adaptation has always been faithful to the source material often at times recreating comic panels perfectly on screen. One such scene in season two saw Darcy burst in on Nick and Charlie as they share a tender kiss. Darcy blurts out “You’re being gay, good job. Carry on!” It’s a line straight from the webcomic and an instant meme.

2 – Fellow Travelers

Our number two series this year is Fellow Travelers. Starring Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey, both openly gay actors, this series documents the relationship between two men set against the turbulent backdrop of the US political landscape between the 1950s and the 1980s. Hawkins ‘Hawk’ Fuller (Bomer) and Timothy ‘Skippy’ Laughin (Bailey) find each other amid the chaos and embark on a passionate and fierce 30-year relationship that has its peaks and troughs.

As well as an abundance of queer actors in queer roles, this series from Philadelphia writer, Ron Nyswaner, tells an epic story of love against the darkest of backdrops including McCarthyism and the Aids crisis. For this, as well as its frank and authentic depictions of gay sex, and more, the show has been rightly celebrated.

Memorable moment: There are many to choose from with Fellow Travelers, including some of the early sex scenes, but we’ll go with the series finale’s tearjerking end which sees Hawkins wander the Aids quilt in 1987 Washington DC where he finds a fitting and emotional tribute to the man he loved.

1 – The Last of Us

Few portrayals of LGBTQ love have had the reaction that those in the post-apocalyptic thriller, The Last of Us have had. Whether it’s the beautiful and tear-inducing relationship between Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett) in episode three or the tragically destined connection between Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Riley (Storm Reid) The Last of Us gave us queer relationships as we want them; real, tender, and normal.

The Last Of Us keeps burying its gays – but that’s OK,” wrote Tom Chapman for Attitude way back in February. And it’s true. We didn’t mind if the characters died, so long as they got to be realised as people and offered moments of hope and joy in an otherwise dark series, also true of the queer experience. It also riled up the homophobes but we couldn’t give a f***!

Memorable moment: Episode three. 75 minutes of heartwarming joy only to be shattered at the end by a tearjerker of a climax.

Honorable mentions:

As we said, there were so many brilliant shows to choose from and sadly we couldn’t get them all in the top 10. But we wanted to recognise the breadth of choice we’ve had in 2023.

Our Flag Means Death – Pirates have always been kind of queer but in this season we got a queer pirate wedding.

Elite – Need we say more?

The Morning Show – Reese Witherspoon plays the queer news presenter, Bradley Jackson, who, among many things, must navigate her feelings towards a colleague (not Jennifer Aniston’s Alex Levy)

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK (S15) – the British version returned with a memorable season featuring several trans and non-binary queens.

Bodies – Kyle Soller returns with another nuanced portrayal of a gay man, this time closeted, in a time when homosexuality was harshly punished.

RuPaul’s Drag RaceDrag Race has been with us for nearly 15 years and this season excelled. “You better walk that f***ing duck!”

Drag Me to Dinner – Famous drag queens trying to cook? And Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka, Murray Hill, and more? Now that’s camp!

Ted Lasso – In the last season of the AppleTV+ favourite we got a gay footballer storyline done right – with love and respect.

Dragula – Drag TV will always be with us. Not a fan of Drag Race? Then try this!

Sort Of – There’s no sort of about it. This is worth a watch!


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