PinkNews takes a look at some of the LGBT shows you should be watching on television in 2016.
The Doctor Who franchise has never been afraid of including prominent gay characters – with lesbian lovers Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint joining the Doctor on a number of adventures and John Barrowman leading the Torchwood team as the omnisexual Captain Jack Harkness.
Class is proving no different. Set in the iconic Coal Hill High School/Academy, the show follows six students and staff – including gay alien prince Charlie Smith (Greg Austin) – as they face ongoing alien threats.
Charlie is currently in a gay relationship with fellow pupil Matteusz Andrzejewski (Jordan Renzo), with the pair having sex for the first time in episode three.
2 Orange Is The New Black
‘Ground-breaking’ is an increasingly overused term in today’s society, but it’s hard to think of another way to describe this flagship Netflix hit.
Set in the confines of Litchfield Penitentiary, OITNB follows the lives of the prison’s female inmates, winning countless awards for its honest and often brutal portrayals of life on the inside – and out.
The show also gives a strong voice to its array LGBT characters – including trans inmate Sophia Burset (Laverne Cox), “butch dyke” Boo (Lea DeLaria) and the loveable Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren (Uzo Aduba).
Touching, poignant and heartbreaking, Transparent continues to make waves with its refreshingly queer approach to storytelling.
With a third season of the show recently released and a fourth in production, Transparent continues to follow the lives of the flawed – and occasionally obnoxious – Pfefferman family after they discover their patriarch (Jeffrey Tambor) is trans.
Tambor’s dignified portrayal of Maura made the show an instant hit, but it is creator Jill Soloway’s unique ability to authentically explore each of the character’s relationships with sexuality, spirituality, gender identity and mental health that makes Transparent one the best television shows ever written.
This global phenomenon has something for everybody – murder, hip-hop, betrayal, glamour and… Mariah Carey.
Aside from its ridiculously glitzy cameos, the show also covers a range of hard-hitting subjects, including singer-songwriter Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollet – who came out last year) coming to terms with his sexuality.
Smollet’s powerful portrayal of a gay, black man struggling to marry his conflicting identities has won him a legion of LGBT fans.
5 American Horror Story
Across six seasons, Ryan Murphy’s sadistic anthology has featured a host of LGBT characters – from Asylum’s Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), to Hotel’s The Countess (Lady Gaga) and Freak Show’s strongman Dell Toledo (Michael Chiklis).
Murphy may use the show’s supernatural themes to explore the social stigma faced by his characters, but for a show that features aliens, ghosts and monsters, AHS is depressingly realistic when it comes to the horror human beings are willing to inflict on one another.
6 The Real O’Neals
The ABC show – loosely based on the life of outspoken gay columnist Dan Savage – features actor Noah Galvin as gay teen Kenny, dealing with his conservative Catholic mother’s reaction to his sexuality.
The show’s comic approach to a touchy subject matter is welcome light relief, with Galvin giving a great performance as Kenny and Martha Plimpton as the family’s fiery matriarch.
However, The Real O’Neals was very nearly axed earlier this year, after Galvin lashed out at other LGBT figures, including the cast of Modern Family…
7 Modern Family
Despite Galvin’s criticism, this mockumentary sitcom has gone from strength to strength, running for a whopping eight seasons!
Winning fans and accolades for its ‘modern’ portrayal of the family, the show features popular gay couple Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron Tucker (Eric Stonestreet).
It was recently announced that the show was set to break down barriers yet again, by casting its first transgender child actor.
The acclaimed series was launched by trans sibling directors Lana and Andrew Wachowski earlier this year – focussing on eight pansexual individuals around the globe with an apparent psychic connection.
The show features openly trans actress Jamie Clayton – making it notable as the first mainstream show to have an openly trans writers penning a trans role for an openly trans actress.
The drama also explored the concept of sexuality and featured a controversial group sex scene.
A second season of the Netflix hit will arrive in 2017.
By Joe Williams