I know most of you have a Netflix account. And if you don’t, I know many of you borrow a friend’s or family member’s account info. The point is, everyone is watching Netflix, all of the time. So it only makes sense to turn to Netflix to have a discussion on contemporary queer representation.
Are these tv shows just luring us in? Are there meaninful topics and themes to question and discuss within them? At any point, do I feel like I’m watching a mirror image of myself?
I asked a member of the community to help me out with this month’s column. Amanda Williams is 25, identifies as a lesbian and is a local to the Niagara area.
Amanda selected five different series on Netflix that display queer representation for the two of us. We both watched all five shows all the way through, and reflected on how queer folk are represented in each show. I have to be honest; binge-watching five different shows is what I call fun homework!
Falynn Shaw: “I had really high hopes for this one, and I was definitely not disappointed.”
Amanda Williams: “It was a captivating, thought-provoking, and addictive drama. When Jean (the protagonist, therapist) meets one of her client’s ex-giflfriends, that sexy relationship based on lies, manipulation and seduction made me feel like it was a great show worth watching.”
F: “The show is not your usual queer representation where a queer character is introduced slowly through innuendo. Instead, it kind of comes out of nowhere.”
A: “Yeah, it takes a few episodes for it to feel like there is any sort of LGBTQ+ representation and not basic queer baiting.”
F: “I would recommend this to anyone, it was highly binge-worthy.”
Please Like Me
F: “I already knew before I watched this, that it was going to be hilarious. The main character is a closeted gay man but everyone knows that he’s gay. I know many that can relate.”
A: “It really is an important, high quality show. It almost feels like an Australian sitcom with no laugh track.”
F: “The queer representation in the show is very innocent and natural and people really could learn something from the show.”
A: “A lot of this show is light-hearted and funny but issues get dealt with and it gets pretty serious at times.”
F: “It really does, in the end, do a really good job of promoting love and understanding.”
Orange is the New Black
A: “I heard from someone who works in a jail that it’s not particularly realistic, which is contrary to what people seem to be saying about the show. Whatever, it’s a compelling drama that sucks you in and it’s got real women’s bodies in it.”
F: “The LGBTQ+ representation in this series is omnipresent and at times really refreshing. I will have to be honest and say the last couple seasons weren’t my favourite but as a loyal fan, I still watched.”
A: “The show really is full of storylines that get your mind working and wondering what you would do and how you would react in that situation. Plus it’s full of lesbian sex. And no one has fake, scratchy nails in jail! This show is loaded with intriguing, likable characters. It’s popular for a reason.”
She’s Gotta Have It
A: “This is a very interesting show. Nola is strong, black, and an artist. She’s queer AND polyamorous!”
F: “To be honest, the first couple of episodes were not really for me but I kept watching and I am glad I did. The main character is a very empowered and individualistic black woman. She makes the show amazing!”
A: “At first, she’s dating three men, but has a same sex relationship later in the season and her relationships with the men are confusing at best. She’s Gotta Have It also deals with body modification, and why someone might choose to modify their body, and we’re not talking just tattoos and piercings.”
F: “The queer representation in the series is minimal but thread throughout. If you’re looking for a family fun show this is definitely not the one for you. This one is fiery, full of diversity and full of sex.”
Tales of the City
F: ” I am just going to start off by saying this series was incredible! Ellen Page is the star of the show and I’ve always been a big fan of anything she’s done. The show is based in San Francisco and the gay scene is amazing there.”
A: “This show was a big deal when it premiered in the early 1990’s, featuring many queer characters and sparking controversy due to the homosexuality, nudity, and open drug use. Watching it now felt kind of outdated and I couldn’t get into it. It seems like you checked out the Netflix reboot, but without having seen the entirety of the original show, I was lost.”
F: “I would give this show five stars and recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about the community, it really has great representation for the community.”
Well, there you have it, our Netflix reviews on five series that represent the LGBTQ+ community. I really loved working on this article together with Amanda and we hope you enjoy our reviews. Promoting shows that include the LGBTQ+ community is important to us and so is inclusion. You can’t be what you can’t see. It helps to bring understanding, awareness and acceptance.
Until next time readers, always keep an open mind.