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💖 Sparkling Queer Content🌈: Shows & Series
A delightful series of posts uplifting queer media & creators
Reading time: About 8 minutes
It’s June! The month officially adopted by the queermos and gender rebels as a time to celebrate the glorious four-dimensional-hyper-cube of gender and sexuality!
Oh, do we live in a golden age for queer television! I say this as someone who devoured the L-Word because it was ALL I HAD. Now I can have standards for my queer representation on the small screen!
The last decade has seen a flourishing of sparkling queer representation on all sorts of streaming platforms and cable channels. We no longer have to tolerate queer baiting or rely on headcanon to get a glimpse of ourselves on television!1
So, without further ado, *sparkling queer content* to watch on the Small Screen!
Hands down, Sort Of is one of the greatest shows ever created. I’ve re-watched the first season once already and know I’ll re-watch it and the second season as soon as the third one is released.2 Gems of clarity and wisdom fill the script and scenes, making me have to pause while watching to just sit with what was said.
As a writer and someone who reads a lot, I consider Sort Of a masterclass in story telling. It’s a show that makes me want to take notes. The character growth is incredibly well done and the plot threads are tight. The interweaving of chosen and birth family and the dynamics of queerness across gender and sexuality are so relatable. The dynamics of the characters with one another, the queer eldership. The bisexual representation that highlights how painful bi-erasure is for bi folks. The absolutely rich and gorgeous representation of all kinds of genders and gender expressions.
Also, the cast! Bilal Baig’s performance as Sabi is *chef’s kiss*. The wit and whimsy of the dynamic between Sabi and 7ven. The sibling dynamics between Sabi and Aqsa. The mediocre maleness of Paul and the reality of how often straight white men lean on everyone around them for emotional labour. The way Sabi is as a nanny. THE KIDS. How Sabi and Aqsa’s mother genuinely tries and ultimately succeeds in showing her kids unconditional love.
It is little wonder this show has won a Peabody Award and a 100% approval on Rotten Tomatoes. What’s weird is how few people seem to have seen it.3 It’s so good that writing this review makes me want to start watching again from the beginning. If you only watch one thing on this list, make it Sort Of.
Season one of Pose will forever live in my brain as one of the greatest first seasons of any show I have ever watched (alongside Sort Of!). Inspired by Ballroom Culture in the 80s and 90s, and the documentary Paris Is Burning, this is a show that highlights and uplifts the role of trans women, especially Black and Latinx trans women, in the fight for queer and trans liberation. The representation across queer culture and the importance of chosen family is core to what makes this show and why I love it so much.
My favourite storyline is Angel’s rejection of the status quo and a cis man who treats her as a fetish instead of a person. It brings me so much joy to see a show depicting straight culture as the restrictive, manipulative, maladjusted thing that it is.
While later seasons aren’t as tight, there are still many gems to be found: The scene when Elektra tells off a Karen is *chef’s kiss.* The show’s nod to Dorian Corey with Elektra’s season 2 storyline. Highlighting the way Madonna exploited queer culture for personal gains. The depictions of queer grief and the reality of class and racial lines that continue to exist in queer community to this day.
If you want an education on your history, and to know about the roots of so much of queer culture, Pose has much to offer.
I’m not generally a fan of reality shows but this one kept showing up on lists for excellent queer content.4 I figured I could watch an episode and see if I liked it. I was totally captivated from the moment the context of the show was revealed alongside Bob, Eureka and Shangela's outfits: highly recognized drag queens arrive in a small town, connect with some locals to create drag characters and performances, and put on a show uniting all the queer folks in the radius of said small town.
Every episode is an emotional roller-coaster. These three queens do serious emotional labour in the small communities they visit. Local drag culture and pride orgs are uplifted! Elder queers are celebrated! Folks super struggling to articulate who they are break free of the suppression of straight culture and come out loudly on stage or post show just before credits roll! Bigots are shown for what they are and not “both sides” of an obviously lopsided cultural power dynamic!5 The second season features one of the greatest, most powerful drag performances I have ever seen by any performer in my entire life.
I love this show so hard and I couldn’t watch it more than a couple times a week because it always made me cry and overwhelmed me with the breadth of beautiful QILT2BAG human representation. As mentuoned before, I don’t tend to re-watch stuff but I will absolutely re-watch this show. I hope it’s renewed and I also hope every single person who has been part of the Drag Family it forms is safe and happy and getting all the care and support they need.
The joy I feel knowing Heartstopper exists for baby queers is immense.6 The sorrow I feel that I did not have representation like this when I was a baby queermo runs deep.
As an elder millennial my adolescence was defined by bullying, confusion, and near constant worrying about how to explain my identity so the world could understand and accept me. I got to live through the fun of 90s homophobia, when the culture was starting to shift and a cishet person saying things like, “It’s fine that you’re gay, it doesn’t bother me, just don’t hit on me” was considered progressive. I could only imagine a future for the next generation of queers like the one depicted in this show.
It’s a weirdly joyful and painful thing to see representations of queer kids getting to date and just be teenagers alongside their cishet peers. And yes, the hostility of bigots is back with a vengeance these days BUT it’s now alongside the messages of this show where queer kids get to be happy and joyful and fall in love and have solid, supportive friendships. The positive representation of queerness in this show overwhelmed me. I had to pause often during an episode to literally squeal and slap my leg to release the wash of emotions it brought up. It’s good for the heart.
This four-part docuseries narrated by Billy Porter takes us through the lineage of the queer liberation movement in the U.S. from the turn of the last century to the Stonewall Uprising. My neurodivergent queer-history loving brain LIT UP to watch stories of great queer ancestors I know brought together with a bunch of new queer ancestors I had no clue about. This series takes it a step further by showing the cross-solidarity and thread of influence of the Civil Rights Movement, Anti-War movement, and 70s Feminism to our modern-day fight for trans and queer liberation.
The casting for dramatizing narration by various ancestors in this series is so good. Any film producers, script writers, or indie film folks reading this—you have your perfect leads cast if you make a bio-pic about Lucy Hick Anderson, Christine Jorgenson, The Compton Cafeteria uprising, Lorraine Hansberry, or Sylvia Rivera. I would go see films about any of these queer ancestors in a heartbeat.
GAWD I LOVE THIS SHOW. Yes, Anne Lister was an exploitative wealthy landowner, but when you have millions of words of a diary from a historical lesbian why would you not turn it into an incredible period piece costume drama show?
The music slaps. The costumes are excellent. The fourth wall breaks are comedic gold. The romantic tension and seduction are refreshing in a genre that too often just has a lot of longing staring and almost touching because apparently being queer in history meant you were always confused about your attraction and could never just go there. Anne Lister f*cked and this show honours that.
Your turn! What are some shows with *sparkling queer content* that you enjoy?
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For those who don’t know, headcanon is when someone in a fandom imagines something to be true of a character that has not been confirmed nor denied in the text or by the character’s creator. For example, after Wednesday aired, both queer folks and neurodivergent folks (often one and the same) read Wednesday Addams as obviously both lesbianromantic-ace and autistic. They are not wrong!
So stoked it has been renewed considering how many shows with explicitly queer content and cast members have been canceled in the last year and a bit, and even removed entirely from the platforms that used to host them. See: Willow, Saved By The Bell, Queer As Folk, Los Espookys, Naomi, 4400, and Why Women Kill, to name a few.
It’s probably because it’s Canadian. So few people outside Canada has ever seen the CanConCanon.
It’s often compared to Queer Eye, and that didn’t land for me. I stopped watching QE after they played a cop pulling over the crew while Karamo Brown was driving as a joke. Not funny. At all. Not even cute when the context is one in which cops get trigger happy and murder people.
I cannot express enough how angry I was at that one episode of Queer Eye. That show is for cis hets. We’re Here is for the queers.