The 10 Best TV Shows With An LGBTQ+ Lead


LGBTQ+ characters and stories are becoming more and more prominent in TV shows and it’s refreshing to see the diversity increase on the small screen. Some of these shows are newer releases such as Heart stroke with Nick and Charlie’s heartwarming romance captivating viewers.

While the number of LGBTQ+-led shows has certainly increased, shows such as Queer as Folk and Skins paved the way for these stories to be told. Many TV shows feature LGBTQ+ characters, but there are a few where these are front and center, such as Love, Victor and others.


ten Love, Victor

Close-up of Victor at the carnival

Love, Victor ran for three seasons and is a spin-off of the hit movie Love, Simon. Where the film centers on Simon’s exit, the series is able to show Victor’s journey of self-acceptance as he navigates relationships and friendships.

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While Simon’s family instantly accepts him when he comes out, Victor’s mother struggles to come to terms with her son’s sexuality. Victor’s relationship with Benji is far from simple throughout the series, with several ups and downs as a couple. Although the show is essentially a typical teenage drama, complete with messy love triangles, it’s a refreshing change to have an LGBTQ+ character as the protagonist.

9 Elite

Elite is an ensemble show, which means there is no main protagonist, however, many of the main characters fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. At the start of the show, the romance between Omar and Ander is key, and both characters identify as gay. That being said, the show also has characters who either don’t define their sexuality or are more fluid when it comes to relationships.

One of the best couples Elite is actually a threesome with Christian joining Carla and Polo’s relationship for a brief time. Many different types of relationships are represented on the show and while love triangles are always very present, there is often a twist on the usual trope.

8 sugar rush

Kimberly and Maria watch each other in Sugar Rush

This British comedy-drama series lasted only two seasons, but is one of the first to have a lesbian lead character. The show focuses on an openly lesbian teenager, Kim, and her crush on her “straight” best friend, Sugar. As Sugar uses Kim’s crush to his advantage and leads her friend, it becomes clear that there are real but complicated feelings for her as well.

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sugar rush is also notable for featuring a young Andrew Garfield before his career really took off. Kim is refreshingly open and positive about her sexuality, something that was rare at the time, and the willful relationship between her and Sugar is captivating to watch.

seven big boys

Big Boys Characters

big boys is another British comedy-drama with an LGBT+ lead, focusing on Jack starting college and coming to terms with the death of his father and exploring his sexuality for the first time. While in college, he develops a heartwarming friendship with his straight roommate who is outwardly confident but quietly struggles with his mental health.

The show seamlessly blends comedy and drama to show Jack’s journey which culminates in his coming out to his mother in a moving scene. Additionally, Danny’s mental health issues are depicted in a way that is both sensitive and realistic. Plus, it’s refreshing to see such a close but entirely platonic friendship between a gay man and a straight man, which is rarely shown in the media.

6 Skins

Skins is another ensemble show that features a number of LGBTQ+ stories and characters. While each generation arguably has a main character, the format of the series means that most characters shine through their own central episodes. Maxxie plays a key role in Gen 1 and Gen 2’s Emily and Naomi have one of the best relationships ever. Skins.

Emily and Naomi are two of five characters who are later brought back in the show’s final season, proving just how popular they are with fans. The girls’ relationship certainly has its ups and downs and unfortunately ends tragically, but it’s one of the biggest and most defining storylines of the show.

5 Euphoria

Rue Jules Euphoria

Euphoria focuses on Rue who is a recovering drug addict and develops an attraction to her new friend, Jules. While Rue is certainly the show’s main character, as is Skins, the other characters also have central episodes. Refreshingly, Rue and Jules never really label their sexuality and Jules being trans doesn’t define her as a character and isn’t central to her story.

The show also explores the toxic masculinity and self-loathing of repressed sexuality with Cal and Nate, who rarely get as much attention as they do here. Euphoria is one of the most popular HBO shows of all time and sexuality is a big theme on the show.

4 Sense8

Like Sense8 focuses on a group of people from different parts of the world who discover that they are mentally physically connected, it is an ensemble show and does not have a single main character. That being said, several of the “sensates” fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, with Lito being gay and Nomi being transgender.

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Although not all “sensates” engage in same-sex relationships in their daily lives, several scenes show them all being intimate with each other due to their bond. Through the mental and physical connections between the main characters, the show is able to explore the complexities and fluidity of sexuality. Showing characters from all over the world and from different walks of life getting to know and accepting each other makes for a truly unique viewing experience.

3 Heart stroke

Charlie and Nick smile at each other

There are plenty of shows that focus on teen romances, but very few with an LGBTQ+ couple at the center like Heart stroke. The show became an instant hit when it hit Netflix and the chemistry between the two main characters of Nick and Charlie is heartwarming to watch.

Although themes of homophobia and mental health are present, they do not detract from the positive and enjoyable nature of the show. Not only Heart stroke focuses on a gay relationship but also has a lesbian relationship and a clearly prominent transgender character. After just one season, Nick and Charlie already have one of the best LGBT+ character arcs and fans are excited to see it continue in the seasons to come.

2 It’s a sin

It's a Sin Olly Alexander Richie Tozier

It’s a sin focuses on a group of young gay men during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. While the show isn’t as uplifting as some other LGBTQ+-led shows in recent years, it does cover a significant amount of history. The friendships between the characters are believable and relatable, which makes the emotional scenes all the more devastating.

The show packs an emotional punch as it follows the characters through grief, discrimination, and loss. Keeley Hawes particularly stands out in her role as the title character, Ritchie’s overbearing mother. His performance is so powerful that the character can irritate the viewer in one scene, only to break their heart in the next.

1 queer as folk

queer as folk

Although queer as folk now has several different iterations, the UK version all started in 1999. The show is one of the first to focus on LGBTQ+ and explores the lives and relationships of a group of gay men. While the show deliberately incorporates archetypes and stereotypes that have become outdated, it has paved the way for many more shows to come.

The charm and wit of Russell T. Davies are woven throughout the show and there are several clues to his future as Doctor Who show runner with Vince’s character being a die-hard fan. queer as folk is also notable for launching the career of Charlie Hunnam who plays Nathan, a young teenager new to the gay scene in the series.

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