From Big Boys to It's A Sin: the best LGBTQIA+ series to celebrate pride month with

From Big Boys to It's A Sin: the best LGBTQIA+ series to celebrate pride month with

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Wednesday, 28th June 2023
Heartstopper (credit: Netflix)

To celebrate Pride Month, we take a look at some of the best LGBTQIA+ series streaming now, and their historical and cultural impact.

Big Boys


Recalling the ups and downs of his own freshers at Brent Uni, Jack Rooke made us cry tears of all kinds with his funny and moving ode to male friendship, Big Boys. Dylan Llewelyn played his teenage self, who strikes up an unlikely bond with his roomie and lad's lad, Danny (Jon Pointing).

Though Jack is gay, Danny is a self-described "ally-Lama", so they explore their newfound social and sexual freedoms together. But amid all the awkward Grindr dates and messy drug experiments, Jack is grieving his father's death and Danny's battling depression. So it makes for a series of both hilarious misadventures and heart-breaking drama, and one that's as refreshingly frank about sexuality as it is mental health.

But the fact that we call them 'unlikely' friends only speaks to society's bigotry; the boys themselves don't even question it. Amid this baffling culture war, Big Boys holds out an olive branch and reminds us that we are all friends here. — HB

Gentleman Jack

BBC iPlayer

With Gentleman Jack, Sally Wainwright recognised Anne Lister, an 1800s lady landowner from Halifax and "the first modern lesbian", for the dormant icon she was. The rollicking drama was based on her diary entries, which amount to over four million words, and in Suranne Jones she found the perfect star to bring the complex heroine on the page to vigorous life.

The series tells of the time when a heartbroken Lister returns from Hastings to both restore her uncle's estate, "shabby little Shibden" Hall, and restore her faith in love in what was then an oppressively conservative society. Between all the shrewd dealing, bigot bashing, and falling for her soulmate Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle), you can't help but root for her—and them.

Or so we thought. HBO cancelled Gentleman Jack in 2022, citing low ratings in the U.S. But creator Sally Wainwright refuses to give up on the series, and rightly so. As an RTS Yorkshire event made clear, by inspiring women across the world to shrug off social constraints and just be themselves, it has genuinely changed lives. — HB

It’s a Sin

Channel 4

It’s a Sin gave Russell T Davies (Queer as Folk) the chance to tell the story he had wanted to tell for decades. The innovative series begins following a group of young queer men through a formative and exciting period of discovery, as they navigate their sexuality and relationships in 1980s London.

But as the series progresses, the subject matter becomes more focused on a darker and horrifically stigmatised period of LGBTQIA+ history. The shadow of the 80s HIV/AIDS epidemic slowly engulfs the characters as the series goes on, hijacking the coming-of-age narrative and injecting tragedy into the powerful, poignant drama.

The show won various RTS Programme awards last year, with Davies himself picking up the 2022 Writing: Drama award for the series. Callum Scott Howells (Lloyd of the Flies) also won the RTS Actor: Male award for his performance as Colin. "It was a difficult show to get made and a difficult topic to write about,” Davies told the RTS at the ceremony. “It's about extraordinary times back in the '80s when we sent our best friends back home to their childhood bedrooms to die while their parents hid them from the neighbours.” MP



Euphoria was widely praised for its modern depiction of the LGBTQIA+ experience in the USA. The series follows Rue Bennett (Zendaya), a queer, recovering drug addict, as she grapples with addiction, school, love and family alongside her high school peers.

The series examines complicated queer issues, including repression, shame and secrecy. The show also presents the complex experiences of transgender life through Jules (Hunter Schafer). Schafer, an LGBTQIA+ activist, also co-wrote an episode centred on her character, complementing the show’s inclusive approach to storytelling.

One great skill of Euphoria comes not through the focus on queer issues, but the way the show doesn’t centralise them. Rue herself has no qualms with her sexuality or gender, reaffirmed in series one by the way she can tell girlfriend Jules: “I just don’t feel comfortable in a dress”.  MP


BBC iPlayer

Pose captures the undying, glittering spirit of a culture that proved a lifeline for many in the 1980s and 90s.

Set in New York, Ryan Murphy's drama harkens back to the peak of ball culture, which saw LGBTQIA+ African Americans and Latinos find love and empowerment through drag queen pageantry and the competing Houses of chosen families. It doesn't flinch from the threats of the time, which included discrimination, violence, addiction and HIV/AIDS, but that's what makes the moments of euphoria in the DIY balls so meaningful.

Take a particular scene in the pilot. A young dancer named Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain), who's been kicked out of his family home for being gay, is auditioning for the New School for Dance. After shedding his broken wings to vogue like he owns everything to Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance with Somebody, he cries tears of both relief and unbridled joy, and you'd be forgiven for doing the same. – HB

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK

BBC Three

This isn’t your ordinary talent contest. Alongside singing, dancing and acting, drag queens must be able to sew, create veritable works of art on their faces, impersonate a variety of celebrities, insult their fellow queens and lip sync as if their lives depend on it. In short, the UK's next drag superstar must have ‘Charisma Uniqueness Nerve and Talent’.

The next drag superstar is decided through mini and maxi challenges. An iconic moment tends to be birthed each episode. Think a very scouse queen perfectly impersonating Donald Trump in ‘the snatch game’, or the song ‘UK Hun’ which reached number 25 in the UK charts and earnt contestant Bimini a contract with Sony after the words “gender bender, system offender” were heard all over Britain. – ECS

Queer Eye


A holistic makeover show that works on the outside and the inside needs five experts to handle the workload.

The ‘Fab Five’ travel around America to offer a life-changing makeover experience to ordinary people stuck in a rut. Jonathan Van Ness takes care of hair and beauty, Antoni Porowski teaches them new recipes, Karamo Brown delves into their mental health, Tan France redesigns their wardrobe and Bobby Berk gives their home a redesign in only seven days.

These extraordinary makeovers often result in tears for all involved. Complex conversations are had surrounding cultural identity, ostracisation, and religious trauma, and as the Fab Five help others work through their struggles and pasts, they sometimes find themselves unexpectedly healing their own. – ECS

I Kissed a Boy

BBC iPlayer

In 2023 Britain received its first ever LGBTQIA+ dating show in the form of I Kissed a Boy, hosted by longtime ally and Australian pop icon Dannii Minogue.

Minogue serves a dual purpose as not only does she run the show's challenges, she also plays cupid and pairs the 10 hopeful contestants into their first couples within the masseria (an Italian farmhouse, and a word that is said uncountable times within the series).

When they meet their new Minogue-chosen love interest, they do not exchange words but dive in at the deep end with a kiss, some being considerably more passionate than others. To switch partnerships, they will have to kiss their potential new suitor in the confines of a ‘kiss-off’. Anyone left kissless at the kiss-off will be forced to leave the masseria.

In June 2023 the show was commissioned for a second series, this time titled I Kissed a Girl, giving the ladies a chance to find love in Italy. – ECS



Can you get better representation than a questioning teenager taking ‘am I gay?’ online quizzes in a darkened room? Perhaps not.

In Heartstopper, there are happy queer endings. The ‘straight’ boy that Charlie (Joe Locke) falls for isn’t actually straight, and he doesn’t use Charlie to figure that out. Elle, who is transgender and played by transgender actor Yasmin Finney, is allowed to exist in the show without her storyline revolving around her transgenderness, but with it still being an integral part of her character. And Tara and Darcy kiss in public and proudly describe themselves as Lesbians.

Heartstopper casually breaks the rules of queer representation in the media one after another. – ECS

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To celebrate Pride Month, we take a look at some of the best LGBTQIA+ series streaming now, and their historical and cultural impact.