The extent to which the LGBTQI+ community has become a part of mainstream media is astonishing. One can easily find of LGBT representation included as a part of the general plot of many top TV shows on the small screen today, although there is still a lot of room to include authentic shows driven and created by members of the LGBT community, especially on home soil.

Still, some TV shows have become iconic thanks to their unflinching look at the lives of queer people. Here are some LGBT-themed TV shows that you really should check out, if you haven’t yet.

The L Word

When The L Word first aired in 2004, it was the first mainstream show to focus almost exclusively on the lives of gay women. Indeed, this show was perhaps a part of many a young lesbian’s sexual awakening. With The L Word: Generation Q, this show is sure to do just that for an entirely new audience, growing up in a very different (thank goodness!) world.

Queer Eye

First introduced to the public as Queer Eye For the Straight Guy in 2003, this unexpected hit was honoured with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality TV Programme just a year after it first aired. 2018’s reboot of this heart-warming show has elevated both its reach and its adoration among fans, and the Fab Five’s own stories have been a golden thread of inspiration throughout the show.

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Eleven seasons after RuPaul’s Drag Race first aired in 2009, it goes without saying that this show has cemented itself in the cultural archives. Host and head judge RuPaul has been a mainstay of the queer community since the early ‘90s, and his influence on global drag culture is unsurpassed.

Sense8

This sci-fi hit show has been hailed for its representation on every level. Created by the Wachowskis in 2015, Netflix’s announcement in 2017 that the show would not be renewed for a third season was met by a public outcry. This led to the creation of an almost two-hour long special, released in 2018. True to expectation, Brian J. Smith, who played the cop Will Gorski in Sense8 would say in a later interview that the special garnered an audience comprising a “truly eyebrow-raising amount of people”.

Pose

Taking inspiration from the real lives of the black and Latino queer communities who laid the foundations for the modern vogue ball culture, Pose tells an endearing story of love, mentorship and community, which rings as true today as it did when the events the show is based on took place.